Losing the toss meant zilch as Mumbai, after being asked to bat, brought out their A-game for the gazillionth time in IPL 2020 to humiliate a Delhi side that looked down on confidence from ball one. After posting 200 with the bat, the Blues ravaged the Delhi batters to book a place in the final.
MI 10/10 - An exhibition; a pure delight. A lesson for all sides on how to bat in the powerplay. First, de Kock started the game off like a man on a mission, and then, despite losing Rohit in over two, SKY kept his foot on the pedal to take the side to 63. Spinners? Pacers? Ashwin? Rabada? Nah. Just hit the ball if it’s there to be hit.
DC 0/10 - For a moment, there was the suspicion that Star were showing the replay of these two sides’ clash on Saturday. Turns out it’s untrue, and it’s just the Delhi batting that’s beyond repairable. Who loses three for nothing inside two overs in a qualifier, chasing 201, after opting to bowl? Bumrah and Boult were good, but Delhi are hopeless. Hopeless.
MI 5/10 - 59 in the middle is not something you expect from Mumbai, not after scoring 63 in the powerplay, but it was that kind of a day. Mumbai kept losing wickets at regular intervals and post de Kock’s wicket in the 8th over, the trio of Rabada, Ashwin, and Nortje did a wondrous job to frustrate the batters by bowling tight lines.
DC 8/10 - When was the last time you saw a team score 8/10 in the middle after posting a good ol’ zero in the first six? Surprisingly, barring the horror show from Pant, DC batted really, really well in the middle. Between them, Axar and Stoinis put on 71 in just over 7 overs and both batsmen struck many a mighty blow to leave MI worried for a brief while. 80/1 in the middle after scoring 32/4 in the powerplay? Perfection.
DC 1/10 - In case you’re wondering, that one mark is for Stoinis, who conceded just 5 off his only over. Rabada, Nortje and Sams, between them, leaked a ludicrous 73 runs in 4 overs and bowled at least a dozen ‘hit me’ balls to Kishan and Pandya, who accepted the invitation with delight. A world-class display of death-batting but, at the same time, an embarrassing display with the ball, particularly from 3 seasoned campaigners.
MI 9/10 - Jasprit Bumrah, like always, set the tone on the very first ball with the dismissal of Stoinis, after which the game was as good as done. Axar did whack NCN for a six and more, but, nevertheless, it was a professional and clinical performance at the end.
Rohit has, erm, screwed himself and his team(s) over?
I wouldn’t want to be Rohit Sharma right now. Antagonizing the BCCI, scoring a golden duck, and disrupting the dynamic of a winning side - could you imagine doing all these three things in a span of a week? Ooh, that sounds like a nightmare. There wasn’t much to read from Rohit’s scratchy outing in Sharjah versus SRH where he seemingly ‘rushed’ back to prove a point but his one-ball stay (yes!!) today did raise a question or two about his fitness and readiness. Facing Ashwin, Rohit, who refused to move his feet, let a straight-forward off-break smash into his pads and watched himself take the long walk back in no time. In all probability, IPL 2020 will be Rohit’s fourth straight season averaging under 30, but the bigger concern is now about the Australia tour. Is Rohit ready - mentally and physically? Will he be added to the squad based on what he’s shown thus far? Do they take him and make him sit out the limited-overs in the hope that he gets ready in time for the Tests? So many questions; no answers.
A lesson on ‘how to bat first’ from Mumbai
Thank you, Mumbai Indians. Thank you. For the longest time, I’ve been rambling on and on and on about how the concept of ‘anchoring’ is overrated; thank you for proving my point today. It would be criminal for sides, from hereon, to not try and replicate what MI did today: it was a T20 batting clinic. Rohit gone? No problem. QDK out? It’s okay. SKY gone? It happens. Pollard gone? Hard luck. Every single batsman came out with the solitary intent of scoring as much as they can as quickly as possible and the approach eventually culminated into a score of 200. What was also impressive was how MI utilized their resources. Knowing Hardik ‘needs’ to be there for the final five, they held him back and only unleashed him in the final five. This is exactly what KKR did not do with DK - watch and learn Baz. And watch and learn, RCB. For the love of god, shun your conservatism on Friday.
Please put Prithvi Shaw out his misery - for his own good
0,9,10,7,0,0, 4 and 19 - His two-ball duck today means that Prithvi Shaw has averaged 6.12 across his last eight innings this season. One can’t help but feel for him: he is a kid who is shattered and down on confidence; pit him up against a third division side from Mumbai, chances are that he’d probably get out for single digits. Shaw’s form is a pain in the backside for Delhi, true, but with the Border Gavaskar Trophy approaching, it is vitally important for the selectors to not have him anywhere near the first XI - for his own good. For getting humiliated on Australian wickets - which looks likely, if his form and technique are anything to go by - would break him. Two years ago, the selectors made the same mistake with Rahul and they almost sabotaged his career; an encore of the situation could shatter Shaw the cricketer. Shaw might have done well in the New Zealand series but it would be utterly naive and ignorant for the selectors to let him suffer under lights in just over a months’ time. For his sake, let the kid go back, correct his technique, and re-build his confidence before he’s thrust into the limelight again.
The triple-strike from Boult and Bumrah would be the easy and straightforward choice but it was in the last six overs of the MI innings where DC lost the game. They conceded 92 and frankly, there was going to be no way they were going to chase 201 down in the form they were in. DC needed to keep MI under 170 to stand a chance.
Match Frenzy O Meter - Good
All of the ‘good’ belongs to Mumbai. First, their batsmen lit up the stage through some swashbuckling batting and then their pacers turned up the heat through some hostile, snorting new-ball bowling. It was a shame that Delhi did not show up. A real shame.