IPL 2016: Krunal Pandya keeps Mumbai's IPL dream alive with a stunner

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IPL 2016: Krunal Pandya keeps Mumbai's IPL dream alive with a stunner

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Amlan Majumdar

05/15/2016

Mumbai Indians defended the target of 207 with gusto and grabbed a 80-run win against Delhi Daredevils at Visakhapatnam on Sunday. Earlier, Krunal Pandya played the innings of his life as he took apart the Delhi bowlers during a trailblazing knock of 86 to guide his team to a mammoth total.

Brief Scores: Mumbai Indians 206/4 in 20 overs (Krunal Pandya 86(37), Martin Guptill 48(42); Chris Morris 2/34) v Delhi Daredevils 126 all out in 19.1 overs (Quinton de Kock 40(28), Rishabh Pant 23(17); Jasprit Bumrah 3/13)

The big news ahead of the match was that Delhi Daredevils skipper Zaheer Khan had regained his fitness and will return to the lineup along with Shahbaz Nadeem and Imran Tahir. Mumbai Indians, who were in desperate need to win this game to keep their hopes of qualifying for the knockout stage alive, made a couple of changes to their team as well. Martin Guptill and Vinay Kumar came in place of Unmukt Chand and Tim Southee.

1. The real Pandya

Krunal Pandya came in at number three today, and he made an emphatic statement out in the middle. Rohit Sharma and Martin Guptill had given Mumbai a solid start with a 46-run partnership—the perfect platform for the middle order batsmen to come and launch the fireworks and Krunal obliged. He took on Amit Mishra and hit him for a massive six in the ninth over, and there was no stopping him after that. The southpaw decimated the Delhi spinners and brought up his first IPL fifty, off just 22 balls, in the 14th over.

Mishra was taken to the cleaners a couple of overs later as he racked up 16 runs within three consecutive deliveries. The Delhi bowlers kept bowling short at him, and he kept pulling them over the boundary. Eventually, Morris dismissed Pandya, but not before he had taken Mumbai to a daunting total. As Krunal walked off the pitch to the applause of the fans, Hardik hugged him near the boundary ropes—a touching moment, one which also showed the drastic change in fortunes for both these brothers in the last two months.

2. Three spinners too many

For the first time in T20 cricket's history three spinners have conceded 40+ runs in a team. Zaheer Khan got his team composition wrong on the night, and his side paid dearly for it. The other disappointing factor was the length the spinners bowled against the Mumbai batsmen. Most of them were too short and allowed Pandya and co to get under the ball and adjust to the spin the surface was offering. Nadeem, Mishra and Tahir conceded 143 runs in the 12 overs they bowled among them for just one wicket.

3. Quinton de kock the lone warrior

The South African batsman has been in tremendous form this season for Delhi Daredevils, however, he has not received any consistent support from others around him. The story continued in this game as well with the southpaw leading a lone charge against the Mumbai bowlers as others crumbled around him. He took apart Vinay Kumar in the fourth over and hit him for three boundaries and a six in four consecutive deliveries. Eventually, a questionable decision by the umpire led to his dismissal for 40, and his departure almost pulled the curtains on Delhi's hope of reaching the target. However, the crowd will not quickly forget that outstanding swivel and pull shot he played off McClenaghan in the third over.

4. Mumbai's spinners succeeded where Delhi's failed

Rohit Sharma is a brave man. Despite the thrashing handed out to the Delhi spinners, he opened his bowling with Harbhajan Singh. The off-spinner dismissed Karun Nair in the fifth over and repaid his faith with a controlled spell. Krunal Pandya also backed up his stunning innings with the wicket of the dangerous Quinton de Kock, and the standout point in his spell was the length he bowled. Unlike the Delhi spinners, Bhajji and Krunal bowled full and troubled the batsmen.

The duo were well backed by Jasprit Bumrah and IPL's top wicket-taker Mitchell McClenaghan. The former picked up three wickets in the middle order and conceded just 10 runs in his three overs to put the game beyond Delhi's reach.

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