Millennium Post (Kolkata)

SRH bury MI in high scoring IPL thriller


Like the lamb bleating before slaughter, Mumbai Indians tried to stage an impossible escape act against Sunrisers Hyderabad before Hardik Pandya's men lost by 31 runs in one of the most pulsating matches in the history of the Indian Premier League.

Indeed, this was a new sunrise for the Hyderabad side as they plundered runs. A Himalayan total of 277 for 3 in 20 overs left all stunned, where the captaincy of Hardik Pandya also came into focus. The new skipper of Mumbai Indians, who replaced Rohit Sharma, has found the new job hard. For someone who did a great job of leading Gujarat Titans to the title in the 2022 IPL and then finished runner-up to Chennai Super Kings in 2023, his new leadership role is being scrutinise­d by one and all.

There has been plenty of chatter in media and social media. After all, he was “bought” by Mumbai Indians for a big price. The expectatio­ns were/are justified, Pandya will crack the magic wand and results will come for MI. If, in the first match against Titans, Pandya looked clueless, his shuffling bowlers on Wednesday like a pack of cards was again baffling.

By the seventh over, when Sunrisers Hyderabad had stepped on the accelerato­r, Pandya had used five bowlers. Damn, why did he not think of pressing with Jasprit Bumrah, easily the pick of the MI attack, as he conceded only 36 runs in four overs. That Bumrah was not used early was wrong. It was bad captaincy, bad tactics.

When a team is scoring runs like a Formula One car in sixth gear on a flat straight, Pandya needed to be calm. No, there was nothing in the pitch. It was a flat belter, where

Travis Head (62), Young Turk Abhishek Sharma (63), Aiden Markram (42) and Heinrich Klaasen (80 not out) plundered runs.

It looked like a mockery, in fact, as bowlers knew nothing about what to do. Perhaps, Pandya needed to show control over the team and calm down the men. He had in Rohit Sharma and Bumrah two players he could have consulted. After all, Rohit has led the Mumbai team to five IPL titles and Bumrah has also been vice captain.

Cricket is, indeed, a team sport. Pandya needed to be more proactive. That was not to be seen. For a man who got injured during the ICC World Cup last year, Pandya has been out for long. He played no firstclass cricket before coming to the IPL.

At best, he played a small tournament in the DY Patil Stadium

in Mumbai. Pandya himself looked rusty, his medium pace bowling friendly, as he went for 46 runs in four overs. Experts on air and social media were aghast at the runs flowing for Hyderabad.

This was lusty hitting, almost to a point of belting the bowlers. Yes, the wicket was flat but the bowling, spare Bumrah, was weak. Had it not been for Bumrah, Sunrisers may have scored even 300!

Travis Head's dynamic halfcentur­y in just 18 balls set a new record for SRH, swiftly overshadow­ed by Abhishek Sharma's blistering fifty in a mere 16 deliveries. And when Klaaasen came, he was class, the whiz-thud 80 off 34 balls a delight for those who love T20 cricket.

The highest total before this was Royal Challenger­s Bengaluru making 263 for 5 against Pune Warriors in 2013. For that record to be eclipsed by team which is not ranked so high in the IPL favourite list came out of the blue.

When Mumbai batted, rock star of the T20 format, Tilak Varma was in smoking form.

His 64 runs and valuable partnershi­p with Naman Dhir raised visions of a heist by Mumbai Indians. At the start of the innings, Rohit Sharma (26) and Ishan Kishan (34) did show promise. What was needed was a century from one of the two, but it did not happen.

The best part was Sunrisers captain Pat Cummins was cool. His unflappabl­e temperamen­t showed and he handled the bowling in a mature way, even though runs were being given away.

Previous best totals:

Royal Challenger­s Bengaluru - 263/5 vs Pune Warriors India, 2013

Lucknow Super Giants -

 ?? PTI ?? Sunrisers Hyderabad players celebrate the wicket of Mumbai Indians during the Indian Premier League match in Hyderabad on Wednesday
PTI Sunrisers Hyderabad players celebrate the wicket of Mumbai Indians during the Indian Premier League match in Hyderabad on Wednesday

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