Given their shaky start to the UAE leg, winning today’s match against Delhi was very important for Mumbai. They had 10 points from 11 matches prior to this clash, and the other two teams who are battling with Mumbai for what seems to be the fourth playoff place, Kolkata and Punjab, had the same number of points from 12 matches.
So, if Mumbai could have won this match, they were certain to get themselves out of the midfield muddle and get an advantage over Kolkata and Punjab. That was not to be, as Mumbai suffered a four-wicket defeat against Delhi
Rohit Sharma’s early departure hurts Mumbai
Since their middle-order has not been reliable at all in the second phase of the Indian T20 League, it was important for Mumbai that Quinton de Kock and Rohit Sharma set up a good partnership. Today, however, the Mumbai captain departed early.
In the second over of the match, Avesh Khan got the better of Rohit Sharma. He played a totally unnecessary shot to dispatch a short and wide ball into the stands and ended up edging the ball and Kagiso Rabada made no mistake in taking the catch.
Mumbai batters opt for the patient approach
The pitch here in Sharjah is behaving in such a way that playing big shots from the start would be a blunder. So, Quinton de Kock and Suryakumar Yadav did the right thing by building up a steady partnership.
The boundaries were few and far in between, but the duo ensured that Mumbai does not lose another wicket in the powerplay. At the end of six overs, Mumbai were 35/1. In the very next over, Axar Patel dismissed Quinton de Kock. It was then time for Saurabh Tiwary to build a partnership for Yadav. Mumbai put 66 runs on the board for the loss of 2 wickets at the end of 10 overs.
Delhi bowlers run through Mumbai’s lower-middle order
Axar Patel got his second wicket in the form of Suryakumar Yadav in the 11th over. Mumbai were 73/3 at the end of that overs, and given the track, this match was being played on, it was not very bad a score. However, they needed someone to hold fort from there onwards, but wickets kept falling at regular intervals.
Axar Patel picked up his third wicket by dismissing Saurabh Tiwary in the 13th over, and a couple of overs later, Anrich Nortje dismissed Kieron Pollard. The Pandya brothers then played a good cameo, as in the last four overs, Mumbai scored 41 runs. Jayant Yadav also deserves credit for his 4-ball 11.
Delhi stumble at the start
Like Mumbai, Delhi too did not get off to a good start. Kieron Pollard’s pinpoint throw got Shikhar Dhawan out in the second over, and in the third over, Krunal Pandya trapped Prithvi Shaw leg before the wicket.
To add to Delhi’s miseries, Nathan Coulter-Nile dislodged the stumps of Steve Smith in the 5th over. At that point, Delhi were 30/3, and fans knew that they have a game and a half for the first match of this Super Saturday.
Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer reduce the pressure on Delhi
Having picked up three big wickets inside the third over, Mumbai got themselves back in the game. But they still needed to pick up more wickets, as Delhi still had two superb batters in Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer on the track.
The duo was able to get some pressure off Delhi, as they scored 55/3 runs at the end of 8 overs. Their joy was only short-lived, as all the pressure was back on Delhi when Rishabh Pant threw his wicket away in the 9th over.
Two quick wickets give Mumbai hope, but Ashwin-Iyer’s partnership gets Delhi over the line
New batter Axar Patel played a good shot to score a boundary off Kieron Pollard’s bowling, but in the next over, Trent Boult got him out. West Indian batter Shimron Hetmyer did not last long either, as after hitting two boundaries, he fell in the trap set up by Jasprit Bumrah.
Mumbai were 93/6 at that point, and while they were only 27 runs away from the victory line, it still felt like a long way away, since scoring runs was proving to be very difficult in this match. It was important that the new batsman in gives Shreyas Iyer some sort of support, and that is exactly what Ravichandran Ashwin did.
The next few overs saw the Delhi team scoring mostly in singles, with an odd boundary here and there. Keeping the scoring rate intact, Delhi amassed 126 runs at the end of 19 overs. They needed four runs in the last over, but there was no additional drama, as Ravichandran Ashwin dispatched the very first ball of the final over into the crowd.