In the 13th over of the Mumbai Indians (MI) innings, Kieron Pollard was dismissed for a duck. Having reduced the opposition to 101/4, Delhi Capitals (DC) had a good opportunity to restrict MI to a low total. It just wasn't DC's day, however, as they allowed MI to double their score in less than 8 overs from there on.
Put in to bat, MI did not seem overly bothered with the loss of the toss. Their captain Rohit Sharma's indifferent form on return from injury only continued, as Ravichandran Ashwin got his first scalp of the night for a golden duck.
However, the in-form Suryakumar Yadav and Quinton de Kock dominated, until the opener was prised out by Ashwin. Suryakumar reached his fifty and was dismissed soon after. The main thrust at the back end came from Ishan Kishan's 55* off 30 and a six-hitting masterclass from Hardik Pandya in his 37* off just 14.
DC set a record in the chase, if only an embarrassing one, as they became the first team in IPL history to lose their first three wickets for nothing. Marcus Stoinis showed some much-needed intent in his aggressive 65, while Axar Patel's 42 too contributed towards keeping DC in the hunt.
In the end, it was a mountain of runs to chase down, and regular wickets meant DC never got close to the target of 201 as they fell short by 57 runs.
DC have a do-or-die game coming up next, while MI waltzed into the final. Here are some players that need to pull their game up for the next stage.
#3 Kagiso Rabada (DC)
Once heralded for being the bowler who consistently picked up two wickets per game and threatened batsmen at all stages of the innings, Rabada has showed a lack of effectiveness of late.
In a game where he was displaced from the top of the wickets chart by MI's Jasprit Bumrah, the South African pacer was comfortably out-bowled by the Indian spearhead as he conceded thrice as many runs and picked up no wickets for DC.
Though Rabada did stick around briefly with the bat towards the end of DC's innings, it was too little, too late to bail the team out. With ball in hand, he was embarrassingly taken apart by Hardik and Kishan at the death with two sixes and a four in his 19th over. Rabada was unable to choose the right deliveries to put pressure on the batsmen, and was punished accordingly.
#2 Rishabh Pant (DC)
With three ducks in the top order, the biggest responsibility had to be taken up by Nos. 4, 5 and 6, who were all international players with memorable innings in the IPL. While Stoinis' innings did put pressure on MI, and Shreyas did counter-attack Bumrah prior to his dismissal, there was very little initiative in this regard from Rishabh Pant, who never got going.
In a slow and weary innings of just 3 off 9, Pant offered no support to Stoinis at the other end. Since his injury, not only has he been unable to replicate his early form, but DC too have not looked the same, as they have won just one match in the next 6 encounters. Pant needs to get back in form if DC are to have a chance in Qualifier 2.
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#1 Rohit Sharma (MI)
With the cloud of doubt over Rohit Sharma and his injury growing, the lack of clear communication between MI and the BCCI is a cause for great concern. What hasn't helped Rohit is his poor form upon return to the team, and he hardly seems to be showing that he is irreplaceable for MI.
In this game, he could count himself unlucky as he was dismissed by a brilliant bit of drift, dip and turn from Ashwin. It hardly puts pressure on the opposition when the captain departs for a golden duck, and Rohit needs to be more impactful at the top.
So far, the MI top order has looked sublime despite Rohit's absence among the runs - who knows if that can continue in the finals?
Published 06 Nov 2020, 10:09 IST