At 76/3, no one expected Mumbai Indians and their powerful middle-order to fold to a total of 137/9, not even Rohit Sharma, who scored a 30-ball 44. However, even that 137 troubled Delhi Capitals, as they needed a 45 from Shikhar Dhawan and a late Lalit Yadav cameo of 22 to get Delhi home.
Where Mumbai Indians lost the game
When Amit Mishra came on to bowl in the 9th over, Mumbai Indians lost not only the plot but also the game, with two wickets in the span of three deliveries - sending back Rohit Sharma and Hardik Pandya - which turned out to be a match-winning spell for Delhi. And that was when Mumbai had a strong point, at 76/2. Everyone is a match-winner until Amit Mishra steps in.
Rohit Sharma came out punching with a statement
Rohit Sharma hasn’t had the best of starts in this year’s IPL but against Delhi, an opposition that he has dominated in the past, he came out on top. Delightful, masterful and an innings of immense intent, the Mumbai Indians skipper took a leaf out of Sunrisers’ batting approach and emphatically disposed of the Delhi Capitals in the first six overs. More importantly, against Ravichandran Ashwin, the right-hander had played out 47 dots, with a strike rate of 91.30, showing his struggling side. However, on the night, he had different plans, playing the off-spinner inside out for a fascinating six after he had already got a boundary off the Indian spinner. After the powerplay, Rohit had control of 80%, with more than half of his shots in the off-side. On a pitch where the scoring rate has been often tough in this year’s competition, Rohit was playing on a different surface, trusting the bounce and getting to the line of the ball to negate any kind of spin. Before this clash, Mumbai had prioritised wicket retention over fast starts, averaging 52 runs per wicket but on the night, there was a different avatar on offer altogether.
The much-awaited arrival of Rishabh Pant - the skipper
Delhi’s tactical decisions have been quite debatable thus far, especially with their bowling changes in the first three games of the season but today was something very different. It all started with the first over, when Rishabh Pant handed the ball to Marcus Stoinis, in what was a genius move, sent the in-form Proteas opener Quinton de Kock, early on in the encounter. That gave Delhi the much-needed start on the right. While it was a brilliant decision to bowl both - Ravichandran Ashwin and Amit Mishra - it didn’t quite pay off, with Rohit Sharma taking them on. However, Pant did not give up, bringing on Mishra in the 9th over, where the leg-spinner brought about the downfall of both Rohit and Hardik Pandya in the span of two deliveries. And against two left-handers, Ishan Kishan and Krunal Pandya, the newbie skipper brought two off-spinners, Ashwin and Lalit Yadav into the attack, which brought about Krunal’s dismissal. Every plan of Mumbai’s had a counter-plan from Pant and all it came down to how Pant had used Mishra carefully against Kieron Pollard, to trigger a collapse for Mumbai, all from behind the stumps.
Jayant Yadav should be picked irrespective of match-ups
Over the last three years, Jayant Yadav has always found himself playing the clashes against Delhi Capitals to counter the left-handed Shikhar Dhawan. While he has done his job excellently with the match-up in limelight, his performance surely should guarantee him a start in this Mumbai Indians setup. Now, this is where the real debate begins - Mumbai have plenty of spinners who can turn the ball away from right-handers - but none bowling away from the left-handers. While Rahul Chahar is the only option, with his googly to turn the ball away from the left-hander, Krunal Pandya possesses no real variations with the ball.
That’s where Jayant fits into the larger scheme of things. Mumbai have in the past suffered in the middle-overs to control the momentum with their spin-bowlers. However, with Jayant in the setup, they have a bowler, who has an IPL career economy rate of 6.66, which shows that he would be crucial not just in Chennai but in Delhi as well, where Mumbai would next play. Not just that, in the clash against KKR, Mumbai had no options but to go to Rohit Sharma to provide an off-spinning option and in the absence of Hardik Pandya bowling, Jayant would give Mumbai the bowling edge.
MVP - Amit Mishra
Against Mumbai, you need experience and that’s exactly what Amit Mishra brought to the table for the Delhi Capitals. The experienced leg-spinner, who walked into the side just spun a web around the Mumbai batting order, picking up four wickets - Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard and Ishan Kishan - to end up with figures of 4/24 to put Delhi in a winning position.
Match Frenzy O Meter - Slug-fest
In Chennai, we got a high-scoring thriller last time around and that really bugged up with our expectations. Today, it was nothing more than a slugfest, especially with how Delhi were utilising the duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Amit Mishra. Every run looked like a slug and the entire innings was a slug-fest. Not one bit changed in the second innings, where runs looked like gold dust and slower bowlers looked like kings from the ancient world, dominating the proceedings. And when it did get over, it was like a long lost breath coming back to life.