We couldn’t add another win to the kitty on Thursday, as we couldn’t defend a total of 171 against the Mumbai Indians at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in New Delhi. After a solid start provided by our openers, and another 40+ score by Sanju Samson, we were restricted from reaching a big total by the Mumbai bowlers at the death. In the field, we managed to pick up only three wickets, as Quinton de Kock’s fluent 70* guided Mumbai to a 7-wicket win.
Rohit Sharma won the toss for MI and chose to bowl first on a hot afternoon. We went in to the contest unchanged, while MI brought in fast-bowling all-rounder Nathan Coulter-Nile in the place of Ishan Kishan.
The game started on a positive note for us as Jos Buttler gently glanced the first ball from Trent Boult to the fine leg boundary. After that though, Jos & Yashasvi were kept largely in check for the first 4 overs by Boult and Jasprit Bumrah.
But the floodgates opened to an extent soon after, as Rohit Sharma made bowling changes. After getting a boundary off Jayant Yadav, Buttler hit the spinner for a six over midwicket. In the next over, it was Yashasvi Jaiswal’s turn to do the same to Nathan Coulter-Nile. After a slow start, we recovered to reach 47 at the end of the Powerplay, crucially, without losing a wicket.
Buttler continued to attack, hitting sixes on the leg-side against the spinners - Jayant and Rahul Chahar. But right after hitting a big one off Chahar in the 8th over, the leggie pulled back his length and pace, tempting Jos to go big again. Jos danced down the track, only to misjudge the length and turn, and Quinton de Kock removed the bails from behind the stumps.
The first wicket brought our captain to the crease, who announced himself with a boundary off the first ball he faced. There was a setback to come though, as we lost Jaiswal soon after. Just like his fellow opener, Yashasvi hit Chahar for a six and then gave away his wicket in the same over - his being a simple return catch.
We were 91/2 halfway through our innings with Sanju in good nick, as a total of 180-200 beckoned. The Samson-Dube duo kept rotating the strike and went for the boundary whenever presented with the opportunity. However, the big overs didn’t come by easily as Dube in particular unable to strike at his usual pace. And come the death, both batsmen had the task to get big runs off Bumrah and Boult – two of the best in the death overs.
Sanju was up to the task though, smashing 14 off Boult in the 16th, as we still hoped to score 180+. Bumrah pulled things back in the next, giving only five runs, and Boult struck back in the 18th, rooting out our skipper’s middle stump with a perfect yorker.
Shivam wasn’t to last long at the crease as well, as he finally succumbed to some tight bowling from Bumrah, for 35. It was left to new man Parag and Miller (who had only faced three balls) to score big off the last over, and the latter’s powerful drive down the ground off the last ball of the innings took us to 171, one which was just below par. Co-incidentally, this was the third consecutive score of 171 from a team batting first in the IPL over the past three days.
The pacers started our defence by bowling tight lines in the initial overs, with the Saurashtra duo of Sakariya and Unadkat giving little away. Crucially for MI, they didn’t lose a wicket, and de Kock broke free in the 4th over, welcoming Mustafizur with a four and a six.
Runs then kept coming freely for the opposition, before Chris Morris got Sharma out off the final ball of the Powerplay. The score stood at 49/1 after six overs.
The Mumbai batsmen looked comfortable though, as Tewatia’s first over of spin saw three boundaries scored. The eighth over saw a big LBW appeal from Mustafizur. After some deliberation, Samson decided to review the umpire’s decision of not out, but replays confirmed an inside edge from de Kock and the review was lost.
It was Morris who came on to provide the breakthrough, as the fine-looking Suryakumar Yadav was caught at midwicket by Buttler. Mumbai Indians were 87/2 halfway into their chase.
Quinton de Kock brought up his fifty in the 12th over, and kept going steadily along with Krunal Pandya in the middle overs. It was a largely chanceless knock, although he did sky one off Sakariya in the 14th, which Yashasvi ended up dropping after a fantastic effort running back.
With five overs to go, MI were 131/2, needing 41 to win. Morris gave nine in the 16th and Mustafizur was hit for a six by Krunal off the first ball of the next over. But Fizz then removed Pandya Sr. later in the over, with the ball crashing his middle stump – giving us that little glimmer of hope. But that didn’t last long, as Kieron Pollard’s six and four off Morris killed the game soon after. To make matters worse, the next ball, which hit Pollard on the helmet, also rolled down to the fine leg boundary, with the West Indian waving it on animatedly.
De Kock and Pollard finished matters off in the 19th over, leaving us 7th in the IPL table.
With games coming thick and fast now, there isn’t much time to dwell on the defeat. The positives from the game definitely were our openers and batting in the first 10 overs, but we will have to work on how to make the most of it and finish off well. The boys will look to get back to winnings ways when we take on the Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday, 2nd May.