The Mumbai Indians fell to their fifth defeat of the season against the Sunrisers Hyderabad after a surprising failure in chasing a low target of 119 at the Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday (April 24). The hosts fell like nine pins on the day, and capitulated to a team total of just 87, losing all their wickets in 18.5 overs of the second innings.
Rohit Sharma won the toss and decided to bowl first on a pitch that was slower than it usually is in Wankhede. His team played some terrific cricket in the first innings of the game, restricting Kane Williamson and his side to just 118 in 18.4 overs.
It was as easy a target as one can get in T20 cricket, and it seemed that after a string of heartbreakingly close losses, Mumbai would finally get their second victory of the tournament at their home ground and more importantly, on Sachin Tendulkar's birthday.
However, it was not to be. Lead by the dynamic bowling changes and inspired field placements from their captain, the SRH bowlers created havoc in the den of their opposition. They picked up wickets at regular intervals and made the small total look ginormous with almost every delivery they bowled.
Siddharth Kaul, Rashid Khan, Shakib ul Hasan, Mohammad Nabi, and Sandeep Sharma were right on the money with their effort with the ball. They picked up eight wickets between them, while creating ruthless pressure on the opposition with their pin-point bowling.
However, the turning point of the match did not come from them, but from the first over of Basil Thampi, who was playing in his first match of the season on the day.
The unavailability of Bhuvneshwar Kumar gave Thampi the chance to get into the playing XI of the Men in Orange, and boy, did he do justice to his selection! His introduction in the second innings came very late, when he was brought on by Williamson to bowl the 15th over of the chase.
In that one over, he did what none of the other bowlers could do till then: scalping Suryakumar Yadav's wicket. He was not only their set batsman on the day, but has also been the highest run-scorer for Mumbai this season, and his presence at the crease until the end of the chase would've ended in the hosts clinching the tie.
However, Thampi did not allow that to happen, as he dismissed Yadav after he made 34 off 38 deliveries, off the second-last delivery of the over. That was the wicket that switched the fortunes on the day and ultimately led to SRH claiming an unlikely, yet convincing, victory against the defending champions.
MI have just one win in the six games they have played in IPL 2018 so far. They need to bounce back quickly if they want to challenge for the playoff spots this season, as they sit second-last on the points table right now, four points away from the Number 4 spot.
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