There aren’t any fingernails left to chew on anymore. I am happy the furniture is still intact. This past week has been the most frustrating for the Mumbai Indians camp. After all the nail-biting final overs stuff, they have thus far managed to land at the wrong end in three games on the trot. Saturday evening was no different. Delhi Daredevils were playing against the Mumbai Indians at Wankhede in front of thousands of kids who thronged the stadium as a part of the ‘Education and Sports for All’ initiative.
Mumbai Indians were asked to bat first and the fans were in for a surprise. Lewis and Suryakumar walked into the middle to open the innings and smashed the DD bowlers left, right and center. I felt it was a good move to go out with these two men as it not only allowed the in-form Suryakumar to express himself freely in the powerplay overs but also provided the much-needed stability in the middle order of the MI batting line up.
Lewis got into his own and was looking in a good touch while Suryakumar notched up a quick-fire fifty, his first while opening the innings, and mind you it was the first time he was doing so. Form can do wonders to a player’s confidence and we got to see the same when Ishan Kishan came in to bat at no.3. He was striking them beautifully and together with Rohit built a nice partnership in the middle overs. At one stage MI were looking good to go well past the 200 run mark. However, their innings fell apart in the final quarter as wickets fell on one end and boundaries dried up on the other. They eventually put 194 on board, way below what they had hoped of getting after the initial onslaught.
Jason Roy took off right from the word go, and quite against the trend in this years IPL of overseas openers taking their time before they get going, (as Harsha mentioned in his tweets the other day citing examples of Lewis, Lynn, Munro, Short), he was at it from the first ball that he faced. The purple cap holder Mayank Markande who had troubled the batsmen in the previous matches was now taken to the cleaners. Sri Lankan mystery spinner Akila Dananjaya who was playing his first match for the Mumbai Indians, too, went at over eleven an over from his four. Fizz sent Gambhir back early, but Roy and Pant were in ominous form and it took a herculean effort by Pollard to see the back of his.
Hardik grabbed a screamer shortly after to dismiss Maxwell and it might go down as one of the most athletic catches taken in the history of the Indian Premier League. Iyer joined Roy in the middle and timed his shots sweetly. He was dropped twice by Fizz in the penultimate over. If only he had taken those. If only. Well, it wasn’t to be and with 11 required off the final over, it was DD’s game to lose from there on. However, as fate would have it, it was down to one run from one ball after a string of off-cutters from Fizz and no prizes for guessing what happened next.
Roy was unbeaten on 91 and took DD home and helped them get off the mark on the points table while MI currently has three red L’s against their name. There have been a few occasions where they have had the upper hand in the game but weren’t been able to cash in on that. They need to sustain that pressure on the opposition in order to create opportunities for them. One has to feel for Rohit Sharma though. He is marshaling his troops well and losing three very close games in a row would have taken its toll, but he would take heart from the fact that they are playing good cricket overall and are not giving away matches easily. That is what the fans are happy about as well. Here’s hoping for a change in fortunes for the Mumbai Indians in the upcoming matches.