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MI vs RR, IPL 2021 Talking Points: Mumbai put in a clinical performance

After a couple of successive losses, Mumbai Indians (MI) got back to winning ways as they beat Rajasthan Royals (RR) comfortably. The defending champions hunted down 172 with nine balls to spare and seven wickets in hand.

It was Rohit Sharma who won the toss and opted field first at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi. It was just the first afternoon game and the second overall in Delhi. RR got off to a sluggish start scoring just 20 runs in the first four overs. Jos Buttler and Yashasvi Jaiswal then upped the ante. Buttler was going great guns and Jaiswal was supporting him really well. However, the promising opening stand came to an end on 67 as Buttler was dismissed for 41.

Jaiswal didn’t last long either and was out for 31. Sanju Samson looked fluent but Shivam Dube struggled through the middle overs and squandered a solid platform. RR were 91/2 in 10 overs but could get to just 171/4 in 20 overs.

In reply, Quinton de Kock blazed his way to his first half-century of this 2021 IPL season. While Rohit Sharma and Suryakumar Yadav couldn’t capitalize on their respective starts, Krunal Pandya played an excellent hand. The left-handed Baroda all-rounder was promoted to No. 4 and he stroked 39 off 26 balls before Kieron Pollard came in and wiped out the remaining runs.

MI move to six points from as many games but they remain at No. 4 on the points table. Here are three talking points from the game.

David Miller’s batting at No. 5, below Shivam Dube

David Miller has been in top form this year. Coming in this IPL 2021, the South African left-hander struck a couple of half-centuries in as many games in the ODI series at home against Pakistan. Prior to that, he amassed 158 runs at an average of 52.66 and a strike-rate of 131.66 in the CSA T20 Challenge. Even in T20Is, he had done well, hitting an unbeaten 25 to guide South Africa home before scoring a fine 85 not out after the Proteas were down and out.

He started this IPL season with a match-winning 62, which set up the run-chase for RR against Delhi. He scored a calm unbeaten 24 to guide RR to their second win against KKR. However, despite Miller’s solid form, RR decided to hold him back in this game against MI. RR lost their second wicket in the 10th over and were already 91/2. They sent in Shivam Dube who got stuck in the middle. He scored 35 off 31 balls in a knock that comprised two fours and as many sixes.

Dube got off the mark on off his seventh delivery and looked at sea as high-quality fast bowling of Trent Boult and Jasprit Bumrah. That delayed Miller’s entry and the southpaw walked in only in the 18th over. He faced a mere four deliveries, scoring seven runs. RR could muster just 80 runs in the last 10 overs and one of the reasons was Miller batting below Dube. That might have easily cost RR atleast 15 runs or so.

Jasprit Bumrah’s spell, particularly at the death

RR were looking solid at one point and looked good for a score of around 180 at least. They were 91/2 in 10 overs and reached 140/2 in 16 overs. With Shivam Dube and Sanju Samson well set, RR would’ve hoped they can maximize the last four overs. However, MI bowled superbly at the death and executed their skills perfectly.

Jasprit Bumrah bowled beautifully throughout the game. Unlike the previous games, the ace Indian and MI pacer bowled two overs in the powerplay and went for just seven runs. He troubled the RR openers constantly. He came back at the death and finished it off magnificently. He helped MI pull things back big time as conceded just eight runs in his last two overs. He gave away just five runs in the 17th over, including a leg-bye. In the 19th, he conceded just four and also picked up the wicket of Dube. All this while Trent Boult conceded 24 runs in his last two overs (16th and 18th over) while Nathan Coulter-Nile gave away 12 in his last over (20th of the innings).

Quinton de Kock finally returns to form

Quinton de Kock hasn’t had many phases in his career where he has gone through a rough phase. However, since November 2020, the left-handed wicket-keeper batsman hasn’t really set the stage on fire. In international cricket, he has amassed 251 runs at an average of 22.81 across formats. He scored just one half-century which came against Pakistan in the second ODI before he flew to India for the IPL.

He didn’t even have a great start to this IPL 2021. De Kock missed the first game as he was in quarantine before he had scores of 2, 40, 2 and 3 in his first four knocks. Even the 40 that he scored was a scratchy one and it came off 39 balls. Thus, it was imperative that he got back to form as he is a key part of this MI line-up and he did so in this game against RR.

De Kock was the aggressor at the top in the powerplay as he took all the pressure off Rohit Sharma who struggled to get going in this game. He scored 29 off 19 balls in the powerplay and helped MI get to 49/1. He did slow down after the field spread out but he made sure he batted through as the likes of Suryakumar Yadav, Krunal Pandya and Kieron Pollard scored at a much higher strike-rate.

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