Record win seals play-off spot

A team performance, set-up by some superlative batting set the stage for the largest ever victory, in terms of runs, for the Mumbai Indians. Once Mumbai put on 212 runs on the board in the first innings, it would always be tough for the Daredevils to come back into the game, but the nature of their capitulation was cause for concern for their team and fans. Nevertheless, this should not detract from a clinical performance by the Mumbai Indians, who become the first side to book their spot for the playoffs in IPL 2017.

Zaheer Khan, coming back into the Delhi side, won the toss and opted to field first. The pitch look similar to the one in which the home side chased down a mammoth 200-plus total against the Gujarat Lions a couple of night ago. Thus, quick runs were required from the outset. Fortunately, Lendl Simmons, brought in for Jos Buttler alongside Parthiv Patel were able to provide such a foundation.

Captain Khan opened the bowling for the Daredevils and immediately found his radar, getting deliveries to dart away from the nervy Simmons. The first over was a quiet one in which just 3 runs were managed. Kagiso Rabada came on to bowl the second over and with his height and pace, was always going to pose problems. Nevertheless, Parthiv and Simmons were able to safely negotiate his over and get 7 runs in the process.

Mumbai would manage their first boundary off Zaheer’s second over, with Parthiv Patel getting inside the line to whip anything spearing down leg to the fine-leg boundary for a four: which is precisely what he did of the last ball of the third over. Mumbai were 18 without loss. Simmons broke the tedium at the other end with an imperious pull for six off the second ball of Rabada’s second over. He followed that up with a slash for four as Rabada was working up serious pace, clocking 150 km/h during this over. Simmons had enough of Zaheer dictating terms and launched the first ball of the veteran’s third over for six over midwicket. If the first 2 overs were all about biding their time, these two were reaping the reward of that initial investment.

Patrick Cummins was drafted in to bowl the final over of the powerplay, but was looking off colour in a bid to follow up on Rabada’s pace and Zaheer’s guile. Simmons and Parthiv relished the extra velocity as both took full toll of the field restrictions, looting 19 runs off the over to ensure Mumbai were 60 without loss at the end of the powerplay.

Amit Mishra came on to bowl after the powerplay and managed to restrict the Mumbai Indians down to just 5 runs off his first over. Shami followed, and Simmons greeted him with a vicious slash over point off his first ball. If the first ball showed Simmons’ power, Shami’s fourth showed his touch: Simmons managed to bisect the gap between point and cover point for a glorious four. 11 runs were eventually scored off this over, as Lendl Simmons was looking good to make a fifty in his first innings in IPL 2017.

Unfortunately, Mishra managed to dislodge the combative Parthiv. The leggie tossed one up over the diminutive ‘keeper’s eye-line, the extra flight deceiving him after he came down the track looking to up the run rate. Kieron Pollard strode to the crease, but opted to play Mishra watchfully to round out the over as Mumbai were 79/1 off 9 overs. Lendl Simmons brought up his fifty off 37 balls in the 11th over as Mishra wheeled away for his third over on the trot. If Simmons was looking a tad reluctant against the wily Legspinner, Pollard was in no such doubt. The ball immediately after Simmons brought up his fifty was creamed over long on, before repeating the dose with a hit over long-off. Despite the second hit clearly not being anywhere near the meat of the bat, it still went for 80m. The move to promote Pollard was working.

The wayward Cummins was brought back on for his second over, which was a slight improvement over his first over, despite a brutal Simmons pull off the fourth ball, which also brought up the team 100. Simmons was looking imperious as Corey Anderson was brought on to try and shake things up. The New Zealander was smashed, second ball, for six over deep-midwicket, but Zaheer’s gamble paid off the next ball as Simmons could only bottom edge a swivel full to short fine-leg for a wonderful 66 off 43 balls. This, however, only brought Rohit Sharma to the crease, to join Pollard. The Trinidadian was looking to make a mockery of Amit Mishra, the second-highest wicket-taker in the IPL with pure power and muscle. Two sixes off the final over of Mishra’s final over resulted in Mishra claiming figures of 4-0-37-1, far poorer returns than his 2/18 the last time these two teams met.

At this stage of the match, Pollard was 29 off 16, 24 of them were hits beyond the rope. Mumbai were 139/2 and within striking distance of posting a 200-plus score for the first time this season. Amidst the carnage, Zaheer brought himself back on to try and prise out a wicket, but succeeded in conceding 9 runs. Despite this, he went at 7.25 runs to the over across his spell, a fantastic return, considering the situation. The 16th over, bowled by Kagiso Rabada, was a successful one for the Daredevils as he removed Rohit Sharma, whilst conceding just the 7 runs. With four overs to go, Mumbai were 155/3, with 200 still looking gettable.

Patrick Cummins, bowling his third over, conceding 11 runs, with Pollard posting his second-fifty of the season off just 29 balls. Despite having two Mohammed Shami overs at his disposal, Zaheer went with the option of Corey Anderson to bowl the 18th over of the innings. The gamble didn’t work: 16 runs ensued as Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard was able to pick the New Zealander’s cutters with relative ease. Rabada was asked to bowl the penultimate over of the innings and responded with possibly the best over of the innings. He should have had Hardik Pandya of the second delivery of the over, but Shreyas Iyer failed to judge a catch coming in over his left shoulder and let the chance slip. Despite this, Rabada ended his spell with 1/33 off 4 overs. Mumbai were 189/3 off 19 overs, would they be able to breach 200?

You bet they could. Zaheer opted for the raw pace of Cummins over Shami was perhaps debatable, but the facts aren’t: 4, 1, 4, 6, 1WD, 6, 1WD, dot. 23 runs were ransacked by Pollard and Hardik as Cummins’ night went from bad to worse. Mumbai ended up on 212/3, the second-highest score of IPL 2017 and the second-highest total in their history.

Despite a superlative batting performance, the fact that the young batting order led by Rishabh Pant, made a mockery of a 200-plus chase a couple of night ago ensured that the team didn’t get ahead of itself. What ideally was required was a wicket first up…which is precisely what happened. McClenaghan had bowled 9 balls to Sanju Samson before today’s match and had dismissed him thrice. He needed just one ball to make it a fourth dismissal as the youngster smashed a length ball straight down Lendl Simmons’ throat at deep square-leg.

Delhi would have hoped that this was a blip on the way to a successful chase, but our bowlers were in no mood to be generous. Lasith Malinga celebrated becoming the first ever bowler to reach 150 IPL wickets dismissing the dangerous Shreyas Iyer in the next over, with Harbhajan Singh completing the catch. Chasing 213 for victory, Delhi were 6/2 off 2 overs. Karun Nair went after Mitchell McClenaghan and smashed 3 boundaries off the ensuing over, but one sensed a sense of inevitability about this run chase.

Rishabh Pant, hero against Gujarat Lions, was a bit of a bunny for Bumrah in the IPL: Before today, Bumrah had bowled 6 balls to Pant and had dismissed him twice. Today, Bumrah required just two balls to get his man, with the southpaw spooning a catch to Lendl Simmons at midwicket and Delhi found themselves 6/3. The introduction of Harbhajan Singh the next over accounted for Karun Nair as India’s Test triple-centurion failed to loft a flighted off-break straight to Rohit Sharma to leave Delhi a bedraggled 31/4.

The match was decided in the powerplay of the second innings. Mumbai managed 60 runs, without losing a wicket, whereas Delhi managed 35 runs, losing 5 wickets in the process. Whilst there have been some stirring comebacks in IPL 2017 (MI’s comeback after being 7/4 against RCB being a case in point), with half the side out for 35 chasing over 200 was always going to be very unlikely.

Unfortunately for Delhi, it thus transpired. The introduction of Karn Sharma hastened the end when he got rid of Marlon Samuels, courtesy an absolutely wonderful catch by Rohit, before Harbhajan Singh got Patrick Cummins for his second wicket of the innings. At the end of the 7th over, Delhi were 47/7 and in danger of being bowled out for the lowest ever IPL-total. Thankfully for Delhi, they were spared that ignominy, as Shami managed a lusty blow over cow-corner off Harbhajan’s bowling. Harbhajan had the last laugh, though, as he got rid of Shami the next ball to reduce Delhi to 57/9. Delhi’s sorry night ended with Karn Sharma claiming his 3rd victim of the night with the score on 66. Mumbai emerged victorious by 146 runs, the largest (in terms of runs) in the history of the IPL. It also meant that we had secured qualification to the playoffs, the first team to do so this season.

The action shifts to Hyderabad as the team plays the in-form Sunrisers on Monday. The match will be crucial for the team, given the need for carrying momentum forwards into the playoffs, added to the fact that it will firm up our chances for a top-two berth. Bring on the Sunrisers!

Stats: -
⦁    The margin of victory (146 runs) is the largest in the history of the IPL.
⦁    Delhi’s total of 66 was their lowest in the history of the IPL.
⦁    66 is also the lowest team total by a team at their home venue.
⦁    66 is also the lowest score Mumbai Indians have managed to restrict an opponent to in the IPL
⦁    Mumbai managed their second-highest team score in the history of the IPL. Their top two totals have been scored against the Delhi Daredevils.
⦁    Lendl Simmons (the Man-of-the-Match) scored as many runs as Delhi collectively managed today.

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