Five losses in six games for the Mumbai Indians and this one has to be the most gut-wrenching of them all. Captain Rohit Sharma rightly said that they only had themselves to blame for last night’s loss. They were playing against a dilapidated Sunrisers Hyderabad who were without Bhuvi or Stanlake and the fitness of a couple of other players too was under question. Mumbai Indians were playing at the Wankhede and it was a special night. It was the Little Master’s forty-fifth birthday and I am sure they would have been keen to gift him a victory.
Rohit Sharma won the toss and decided to field first. Sunrisers Hyderabad had never batted first in the tournament this year. Mumbai Indians played an unchanged side. Sunrisers Hyderabad brought in Nabi and Thampi who had been warming the benches up till now. Dhawan who was returning from an injury looked out of touch and Mitch got him out bowled in the second over. He struck twice in the same over sending back Saha for naught. Kane Williamson carried his good form into this match and while wickets were falling at the other end he was creaming a few glorious shots into the boundary ropes.
It was a difficult pitch to bat on it seemed from the outside. The ball gripped the surface and wasn’t coming onto the bat as one would have liked it to. From the Mumbai Indians perspective, they would feel they had a perfect night on the field. All their bowlers were amongst the wickets apart from Krunal. Mayank and Hardik were the most impressive with the ball. Yusuf was left stranded in the middle as he ran out of partners. He tried to take it as deep as possible and was the last one to be dismissed. SRH managed to put a paltry 118 on the board and they didn’t even complete their full quota of overs.
Although it was a difficult track, Mumbai Indians would have taken this score any day. It seemed pretty manageable and the asking rate was just under six. Sandeep Sharma troubled Evin Lewis with his away swing and finally got the better of him in his second over. It was a rather cautious start from the MI batters one would feel. Ishan Kishan departed soon after, for a duck. Mumbai Indians needed one good partnership to seal the game. Rohit tried to go inside out and edged one straight to Dhawan at slips. 3 quick wickets had Mumbai on the back foot. Suryakumar and Krunal played out some overs and scored on bad deliveries while keeping the asking rate under control.
Rashid was in the middle of a beautiful spell and had Krunal trapped leg before the wicket. Pollard who is yet to make a mark in this year’s IPL had the platform set to go out and win the match for his team. He made the long walk back in Rashid’s next, courtesy some brilliant slip catching by Dhawan. With half the side back in the hut, the onus was now on Suryakumar to see his side through. Hardik joined him in the middle and it was the last recognized pair for the Mumbai Indians. Thampi had Yadav caught in the deep and the match tilted in SRH’s favor just a little. Boundaries dried up and Mumbai’s tail didn’t wag hard enough. Hardik threw the kitchen sink at Thampi in an attempt to accelerate the scoring and perished.
Wankhede was silenced. They couldn’t believe what had happened right in front of their eyes. Mumbai Indians made a complete mess of what could (should) have been an easy chase. Credit to the SRH bowlers for sticking to their plans and keeping it tight. They bowled well as a unit and had one leaked runs, they wouldn’t have been able to sustain the pressure as they did. Kane must be proud of his boys. As for Rohit, he has a lot to ponder upon. Maybe the team composition might be changed for the upcoming games. Players have to step up and take the responsibility. However, I wouldn’t count out Mumbai Indians just yet. It is going to be very difficult for them to make it to the playoffs but they have done it in the past from a similar situation and have all the resources to do so this time around as well.