May 21, 2016
By MI Media
Mumbai Indians faced the Gujarat Lions in a must-win match at Kanpur. We had to recover from the initial stutter to set a target of 173. GL did well with the bat to chase down the target with over two overs to spare and qualify for the playoffs.
Our openers came in all guns blazing as the Hitman looked in exceptional touch. He dispatched the ball to the boundary with absolute disdain and scored a quick-fire 30 off 17 balls. Rohit was looking unstoppable and determined to do it for his team before losing his wicket. GL clawed back into the game with the wickets of Rohit Sharma, Martin Guptill and Krunal Pandya. Nitish Rana, who came in at number 3 grabbed the opportunity with both hands. Rana was getting the distance on the ball at will; he hit 4 sixes in his innings of 70 from 36. Jos Buttler provided him with ample support at the other end with a patient 33. MI stuttered a few times towards the end, but still managed to reach a total of 172 runs.
We had a dream start with the ball as Vinay Kumar kept it straight and simple to bowl a wicket maiden first over. Suresh Raina joined Brendon McCullum, after the fall of Aaron Finch, and the two shrugged away any opening for us. They kept their calm and played shots all over the ground. The two put on a partnership of 96 runs from 54 balls setting a good platform for the chase. We managed to get McCullum and Dinesh Karthik in quick succession but the damage had already been done, they were 111-3 at the end of 11 overs chasing 173. After Raina's dismissal, Dwayne Smith and Ravindra Jadeja came in and finished the game with a flurry of hits to the boundary. Smith scored 37 off just 23 balls while Jadeja scored 21 off 15 balls to beat MI by 6 wickets.
Gujarat Lions become the first team to qualify for the playoffs leaving us hanging in the balance of a qualification spot which depends completely on the results of the matches tomorrow.