Wow, what a match! In such an important match for not just the two teams playing but also for the 3 other teams in contention for a playoff berth, for it to go right down to the wire and for the team that won to have won in such an amusing manner, is truly a rare sight. In this game, MI and SRH squares off at the Wankhede. Before this game, MI needed to win just 1 game to qualify for the playoffs, and SRH too, in a way, needed to win just 1 game to qualify for the playoffs, owing to their excellent run rate.
In an unprecedented move, MI captain Rohit Sharma won the toss and chose to bat first. In a ground where even the best bowling sides find it hard to defend totals, Mumbai had taken quite a bold call. But. If there is any team who can defend a total, it is the Mumbai Indians. And if there is any team who can fail to chase a small total, it is a Warner and Bairstow-less Sunrisers Hyderabad. Add to that the absence of dew, and I think that was a pretty well thought decision taken by the home side which ultimately paid off in the end.
Right at the beginning, Rohit Sharma was hitting the ball nicely and at a good strike rate. But as we have seen time and again in the length of this tournament, he failed to capitalise on a good start and lost his wicket to the young pacer Khaleel Ahmed. On the other end. Quinton De Kock, on the other end, played the polar opposite innings of Rohit Sharma’s. He was too slow, and succeeded in making the second slowest 50 of this whole IPL, coming off as many as 48 balls. Towards the end, he started to try to hit the ball harder, but he just couldn’t middle it. His slow innings was the reason MI’s hitters down the order faced less balls and ultimately did not manage to score many runs.
The SRH batsmen showed the same weakness they have been showing in every game they play. After the openers start off the innings at a good pace, the middle order either slows it down, or collapses. In this game, both these things happened. After Saha played a quickfire innings right at the top, the other batsman down the order never managed to keep the pressure on the opposition. Williamson faces difficulties against the spinners, and Vijay Shankar played a painful innings where he could not get even a single boundary even after facing 17 deliveries. But it was the mature and powerful innings of Manish Pandey that ultimately helped them to take the match to a Super over. Having already scored 65 runs off 46 balls, Manish Pandey needed to hit a six off the last ball to push the game into a Super over. And he did that! He is truly in the best of form right now.
The Super over was nowhere near as entertaining as we all expect super overs to be. But, it featured some great bowling. Jasprit Bumrah bowled three tight deliveries before totally destroying Mohammad Nabi’s leg stump to restrict SRH’s Super over score to a mere 7 runs. Nobody would have thought that the hitters of MI, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, and Suryakumar Yadav won’t be able to score those runs. And they would have been wrong had they thought that. It took just 3 balls to finish up the game in favour of Mumbai.
With this game in the rear view mirror, Mumbai has now qualified for the playoffs. SRH, however, should not be disheartened, as they are still the front runners for the No.4 spot. Their last match is against RCB, a team who they had thrashed in their meeting earlier this season. If they win that game, then I am sure they will be the final team to qualify this season. Thank you for reading!