It certainly came down to the last over, but the Mumbai Indians (MI) were able to sneak home with two deliveries to spare against the Delhi Capitals (DC), who, despite the absence of Rishabh Pant and Shimron Hetmyer, fought tooth and nail to compete with the 4-time IPL champions till the end.
Things started to go astray for the Capitals in the first over itself when Prithvi Shaw failed to get his front foot to the pitch of the ball and uppishly drove Trent Boult straight to Krunal Pandya at cover. Ajinkya Rahane, who had to be accommodated in the XI so that overseas wicketkeeper Alex Carey could replace Pant, began with a few eye-pleasing strokes, but was dismissed soon afterwards, leg-before to Krunal Pandya in the 5th over.
Shreyas Iyer and Shikhar Dhawan then struck a few boundaries at the backend of the powerplay. The middle-overs went rather uneventfully, with the duo refraining from taking any risks and batting as deep as they could. Iyer was finally dismissed in the 15th over, picking out Boult at deep-midwicket off Krunal Pandya. Marcus Stoinis walked out with purpose as he has done all season and smashed a couple of well-placed boundaries off Boult.
What happened after that could be only defined as sheer carelessness and callousness from DC, Shikhar Dhawan in particular. Stoinis tapped the 3rd delivery of the 17th over from Rahul Chahar down to Suryakumar Yadav at long-on, and the pair pinched an easy single. Suryakumar momentarily fumbled the ball, and that was where the trouble began. Shikhar Dhawan, spotting the fumble, called Stoinis for an impossible second and turned him back only after the Australian ran halfway down. By the time Stoinis turned back, the bails were already dislodged by Chahar.
MI banked on the Stoinis run out and bowled an excellent last three overs, conceding only 27 runs, as DC managed a total of 162, having lost only four wickets. The opening duo of Quinton de Kock and Rohit Sharma then got the chase underway steadily, with de Kock finding the fence on a few occasions in the powerplay. The wicket of Rohit in the 5th over, caught by Rabada at deep midwicket off Axar Patel, did not seem to deter him either, as he went on to smash a couple of sixes off the pacy Nortje in the last over of the powerplay.
That he found an able and in-form partner in Suryakumar Yadav helped him keep up with the required rate. Once de Kock was dismissed in the 10th over, having completed his half-century, Suryakumar took on the role of anchor, helping new batsman Ishan Kishan ease in. Kishan broke the shackles with an over-boundary and boundary off Stoinis in the 14th.
The following over from Rabada was eventful, Suryakumar first found the fence with a slash past third-man, then he dispatched the South African for half a dozen over square leg to bring up his fifty, and then three balls later, Suryakumar, trying to hit Rabada out of the ground again, holed out to Shreyas Iyer at mid-off. The wicket of Hardik Pandya two balls later further made things interesting, but Ishan Kishan and new man Kieron Pollard struck a few boundaries in the next few overs to keep things under control.
By the time the penultimate over was to be bowled, victory seemed to be a certainty for the Mumbai Indians, despite losing Ishan Kishan in the previous over. Nortje, though, hit the length hard to keep the pair of Pollard and Krunal Pandya down to dots and singles and take the match to the last over with 7 still required. A boundary from the first ball of the last over from Krunal off Stoinis undid all the hard work from Nortje in the last over, and Krunal sealed the deal two balls later, pulling a back-of-a-length delivery over square leg.
MI v DC – Where DC lost the game
The fact that DC got off to flying starts in the previous few matches was largely down to Prithvi Shaw’s free-flowing manner of batting that helped his side maximize on the first six overs, or in some cases, tee off after the first six (e.g. the CSK game). Shikhar Dhawan has done well in the last few matches to play the supporting role by playing risk-free, accumulative Cricket. As a result, his inability to accelerate after being well-set had been concealed. But today, the early dismissal of Shaw, and then Rahane left Dhawan in a spot of bother.
To his credit, he did well to play himself in, but carrying the bat with an innings of 69 off 52 is just not good enough against an MI batting line-up. To make matters worse, he ran out the one person who could have got DC to a score close to 190, Marcus Stoinis, and could not clear the fence even once after that. Sure, the Mumbai Indians bowlers performed brilliantly at the death with their pinpoint yorkers and change of pace, but Dhawan, who was playing on that wicket for so long, could have used the crease or tried to manufacture at least something.