Hindustan Times (East UP)
Mishra bags four to help Capitals edge out Mumbai
Star-studded Mumbai batting falls prey to ex-India spinner’s slow leg-breaks on sluggish wicket
KOLKATA: There can’t possibly be a better feeling than seeing numbers-based matchups hold up in real time scenarios. Ask Amit Mishra, who has now dismissed Rohit Sharma seven times in the IPL, more than any other bowler in its history. That his tact, its range to be more precise, can still befuddle the best batsmen even after more than 10 years in the business is testimony to Mishra’s skill and will to adapt. Need to remove Rohit Sharma? Try the slow leg-break. Ploy against Hardik Pandya? Another leg-break please. Want to get under Kieron Pollard’s skin? Bowl a googly. To the sprightly Ishan Kishan, Mishra comes up with a wide, really wide, yorker that asks him to push his arc. Four wickets, 24 runs and 11 dot balls—Mishra left Mumbai Indians ruing their propensity to counter loss of wickets with more aggression. In hindsight, losing five wickets in six overs after scoring 55 in the first Powerplay was always bound to hurt them.
Considering Mumbai Indians’ fantastic record defending really paltry scores, they were still not out of the game after Trent Boult and Jasprit Bumrah trudged off, managing seven runs in the last over. Delhi Capitals, however, kept the pressure up from the first over when Shikhar Dhawan slashed Boult over backward point for a boundary. Mumbai Indians hit back next over through Jayant Yadav who prised a hard jab from Prithvi Shaw in a caught-andbowled. But Dhawan was at it again, square-cutting Yadav for a boundary off the over’s last ball. The asking rate was always manageable. And Dhawan has a calm head on his shoulders. Backed by Steve Smith’s assuring stand at the other end, Dhawan kept clipping singles to bring up one of the most risk-free fifty-run partnerships in the IPL so far.
When Pollard provided the next break, trapping Smith with a full delivery, Dhawan dropped anchor. His vigil, at just over run-a-ball, ended with Krunal Pandya brilliantly catching him at long-leg. End of the 15th over, Delhi Capitals had Rishabh Pant and Lalit Yadav at the crease, needing 37 from 30 balls. We have seen Kolkata Knight Riders magnificently mess up a match from the same equation. This too teased a similar finish. Pant picked Boult for a boundary before taking a single off the next ball. Next over, with DC requiring 31 from 24, Lalit managed to eke a boundary off Bumrah before scampering for a single. One boundary and the rest in harmless singles—Delhi Capitals seemed to get their tactic bang on till Bumrah took out Pant in the 17th over with a cutter and opened up the game again. Shimron Hetmyer’s first runs in this IPL—crunching a boundary over extra cover—tilted the game back in favour of Delhi before the all-important 19th over conceded two extra deliveries when Bumrah overstepped twice. That helped Delhi maintain their calm and chase down 137.
This defeat should prompt Mumbai Indians to review some of their tactics. There was a distinct inclination to force a shot when enough runs had already been scored in an over. Like the dismissal of Suryakumar Yadav, edging to Pant trying to steer Avesh Khan’s tight delivery to third man, when 12 runs had already been scored of the previous five deliveries. Equally puzzling was the hara-kiri by Hardik, trying to slog Mishra’s slow leg-break two balls after Sharma’s dismissal. Till the time he got out, Sharma looked the most adept batsman on a tricky pitch that aided little spin. But Mishra managed to tempt him after all. Looking set to build on a really well-compiled 44, Sharma danced down the track to Mishra’s leg-break. Tossed up and spinning away from Sharma, the ball caught the toe of his bat in his attempted slog towards long-on where Smith made no mistake catching it.
The frequent loss of wickets did Mumbai Indians no good despite Kishan’s patient innings. Where Delhi Capitals aced the game was in not allowing Mumbai Indians any respite in the first 10 overs where they tried six bowlers—three by Ravichandran Ashwin, two each by Marcus Stoinis and Mishra and one by Kagiso Rabada and Lalit. With his under-cutter, carom ball and clever use of the pitch, Ashwin ran away with 12 dots in a gamechanging spell of three overs. If Ashwin was all guile and trick, Mishra stuck to the lengths that make wrist-spinners so deceptive in this format, removing four batsmen. And then we have Lalit, all of 24, cleverly slipping in the arm ball that gets the better of Krunal Pandya. Three bowlers ended with economies of seven and under, Lalit topping the list with 4.25. Rarely does a team end on the losing side when they exercise this extent of control on the opponents’ scoring rate. Brief scores: MI 137/9 (Rohit Sharma 44, Suryakumar Yadav
24, Ishan Kishan 26, Jayant Yadav 23; Amit Mishra 4/24, Avesh Khan 2/15). DC 138/4 in 19.1 ovs (Shikhar Dhawan 45, Steve Smith 33, Lalit Yadav 22*).