Former India cricketer Gautam Gambhir lashed out at Rajasthan Royals (RR) after they put up an extremely incompetent effort and were thrashed by Mumbai Indians (MI) by eight wickets.
Sent into bat by MI, RR crumbled to 90 for 9 in their 20 overs. They then allowed MI to dominate with the bat as well as the chase was done and dusted in 8.2 overs.
Analyzing RR’s horror show, Gambhir concluded that the franchise deserved to be knocked out after the manner in which he turned out against MI.
Gambhir told ESPN Cricinfo, hitting out at RR:
“If you play this kind of cricket, this is what you deserve. You can’t expect to qualify for the playoffs if you play your worst game at the crunch moment. This is where it matters the most and comes down to how much mental strength you have. This is where you can differentiate boys from men.”
Gambhir, a former India opener, opined that MI proved there were no demons on the pitch the way they batted. According to him, the gulf between the teams was evident in Sharjah. Gambhir added:
“You should never judge the surface until both teams have played on it. Mumbai Indians made it look so easy and it looked like a very good wicket. That just shows how much difference there is in the quality of both the attacks. They (RR) didn’t look like the side who were in the race for qualification. No way.”
Evin Lewis top-scored for RR with 24 but no other batter could reach 20. For MI, Nathan Coulter-Nile and James Neesham stood out with figures of 4 for 14 and 3 for 12 respectively.
“Ishan Kishan keeping and opening makes Mumbai a more balanced team” - Gautam Gambhir
MI made a change at the top of the order for Tuesday’s game and the move worked brilliantly as Ishan Kishan smashed an unbeaten 50 in 25 balls.
Speaking about Kishan’s performance, Gambhir claimed that his presence in the team as opener-keeper provides MI greater stability. He said:
“Ishan Kishan took his opportunity with both hands and played really well. He actually played out a maiden over and everyone was talking about whether he should get aggressive. He played some fabulous shots and is going to get a lot of confidence from here.”
Gambhir further commented on MI's team combination:
“Ishan Kishan keeping and opening makes Mumbai a much more balanced team. He can do the job Quinton de Kock was doing. And now, they can have Jimmy Neesham, who bowled really well and proved that his selection was the right one. Suddenly, they again look like an IPL-winning side.”
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MI will face Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in their final IPL 2021 league encounter on Friday, October 8. They will have to win the game by a big margin and hope the other results go their way to qualify for the IPL 2021 playoffs as the fourth team.