Coming on the back of wins in their previous matches, Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers Hyderabad entered into a clash in Sharjah, which ended in Mumbai’s favour after a high scoring affair. Quinton de Kock starred for Mumbai, scoring 67 off 39 balls, helping his team reach 208 after an abysmal start.
‘Length’ not pace is the key in Sharjah
Opening the bowling for SRH on the cement wicket of Sharjah, Sandeep Sharma and T Natarajan displayed absolute accuracy with their bowling as they stuck to their plans of not giving any room to Mumbai batsmen despite not being express with their pace. On such a flat wicket, it was expected that Rohit Sharma along with Quinton de Kock will start strongly, but things turned out quite opposite as Mumbai were 48 for 2 at the end of 6 overs on a ground where 200 runs are being scored for fun. Sandeep and Natarajan displayed a perfectly workable strategy, where other teams struggled to make their bowlers relevant, finishing powerplay with 1 wicket for 13 runs and no wicket for just 6 runs in the 2 overs they bowled respectively. They cleverly didn’t give any pace to the batsmen to work them around and constantly went back to slower deliveries, not allowing the free swing from batsmen. This is good from the viewer’s perspective as well as now at least there would be some competition between the bat and ball. However, although the young pacers of SRH did give us hope that things could happen differently, 200 was inevitable in Sharjah as Mumbai finished on 208/5.
Ishan Kishan is here to stay
Ishan Kishan, who captained India in the 2016 U-19 World Cup, has been one of the most promising young cricketers for quite some time now but he was not able to play those big innings to cement his place in the squad. However, come 2020 IPL, things have drastically changed for the youngster as he seems to be having a purple patch this year, having scored 158 runs in 3 matches. He announced his arrival in the team, after being left out for the first two games, by hitting an almost match-winning 99 and then followed it with a sweetly timed 28. In this match again, he looked in complete control of the proceedings as he timed the ball like a matured batsman, hitting two sixes and one four. Although he couldn’t carry on to convert his innings into a fifty, his innings was extremely important in the context of the game as MI had lost two early wickets in the powerplay after which he stitched a fantastic partnership with Quinton de Kock to get his team en route to 200. With the form that the Jharkhand batsman is carrying, it looks like he is here to stay.
Manish Pandey ‘almost’ got back his mojo
It is hardly arguable that the batsman from Karnataka has not had a good IPL season so far as he struggled to get going despite getting starts. He did score a 51 in the second match against KKR, but that innings was more of a match builder for KKR than for SRH as he failed to carry his team to a par score after getting set. In this match too, things didn’t start off well as he dropped the catch of de Kock on 16, who went on to score 67, but he made a superb comeback by taking one of the best catches of this edition of IPL at long-on. Pandey dove across to take a low elevated catch off the bowling of Sandeep Sharma to dismiss in-form Ishan Kishan. Later, when he came to bat, though on the flat wicket of Sharjah, he started off quite well, hitting 2 fours in the first 4 balls he played. He was given a second chance by Hardik Pandya as he couldn’t see the ball due to direct sunlight, but as the expectations from him were starting to increase, he played a poor shot straight in the hands of Pollard. With that, he ‘again’ lost the chance to become the hero of the match as he ‘again’ got out on 30 off 19 balls when his team needed him the most. The most irritating thing in this scenario is that Pandey is hitting the ball well but can’t seem to make the most of his form.
David Warner not his former self
Warner has built a reputation for himself, which involves him playing blistering innings to win the game one-sided for his team. However, in this match, he was struggling to middle the ball and looked rusty, that too on the flat wicket of Sharjah. There were only glimpses of his former self in the middle, but those glimpses couldn’t be converted into a match-winning innings as he was finally dismissed on 60 off 44 balls, relieving him of his misery. 60 runs might seem a lot and credit must be given to him for fighting it out in the middle, but he must also be credited for losing the game for SRH as he should have taken the onus to take his team home after getting his eyes in. He was outdone by a short and wide slower delivery bowled by his fellow Australian James Pattinson, edging it to short third man, where Ishan Kishan pulled off a superb catch. In fact, Warner’s rustiness was the reason for SRH not being able to make the most of powerplay, scoring just 15 off 14 balls in this match’s powerplay. Certainly, without Warner’s former self, SRH do not look as dangerous as they used to be.