MI register first win of the season

We’re off the mark. And, how!

A breathtaking 94 from Rohit Sharma, a counter-attacking 65 from Evin Lewis and some clever bowling from Krunal Pandya and Mitchell McClenaghan powered Mumbai Indians to their maiden victory of the 2018 Vivo IPL season at the Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday evening.

The rollicking 46-run defeat of the Royal Challengers Bangalore enabled the defending champions to bury the ghosts of the first three matches and get their campaign back on track. Oh, and yes, MI are no longer at the bottom of the table. We recovered from a horrific start to post the highest total — 213/6 — by any team this season. In response, RCB managed 167/8. Virat Kohli carried the bat and smashed an imperious 92 off 67 balls, but that was that. None of his teammates kept him company and he was left stranded to say the least. In fact, five RCB batsmen fell for single-digit scores as the visitors succumbed to their third defeat of the season and second on the trot.

MI suffered a huge scare in the 13th over of the RCB innings when Ishan Kishan was hit on the eye. The wicketkeeper-batsman was collecting a throw made by Hardik Pandya but misjudged the ball which eventually hit him in the face. He lay down in pain before the team’s medical staff gave him first aid. He was able to get up and walk out but his eye was certainly swollen. Aditya Tare kept wickets for the remainder of the innings.

Umesh Yadav gave RCB a dream start by removing Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan off the first two deliveries of the match. The Wankhede was stunned into silence. That’s when Lewis and Sharma got together. The next 11 overs were about their match-defining 108-run partnership, the second-highest by any team this season.

Yadav’s first ball moved away from length on middle and off and beat Suryakumar as he attempted an ambitious drive. New man Kishan was dealt with with a fullish delivery that curved back in and crashed into the off-stump.

Coming into this game on the back of meagre returns (15, 11 and 18), Sharma roared back into form on Tuesday. The skipper fell short of his second century in the Vivo IPL by only a couple of metres. He was well on course to breaching the three-figure mark when he lofted Corey Anderson straight down the ground off the penultimate ball of the innings. But Woakes accepted the offering with ease to break many a heart.

Sharma contributed just 32 to the 108 runs he added in the company of Lewis. But that’s because the Trinidadian was happy to play the role of enforcer throughout. He started off with a marauding pull off Chris Woakes, sending the ball into the second tier behind the square-leg boundary. The left-hander smashed four more maximums to register his first fifty in the Vivo IPL.

Sharma lost the toss for the fourth straight time, but it didn’t matter at all. MI scored 60 in the Powerplay, 95 at the halfway stage and a whopping 70 off the last five overs to keep the scorers busy all along. Hardik Pandya, too, joined the party with a couple of sixes late in the innings. He finished unbeaten on 17 off just five balls. His older brother, Krunal Pandya, also scored a handy 15 even as Kieron Pollard failed to fire, making just five off seven deliveries.

When Yadav returned for his third over, Sharma hit him for a six and a four off the first two balls. Sharma scored 24 of the 40 he added with Krunal, 23 of the 30-run stand he stitched with Pollard and 15 of the 29 he and Hardik added. His 52-ball effort was studded with 10 fours and five sixes.

RCB raced to 40 in four overs, and that’s when McClenaghan — moustache and all — had Quinton de Kock bowled with a ball that angled in. Three deliveries later, he accounted for AB de Villiers by having the dangerman caught in the deep for just one.

Krunal, who shared the new ball with Jasprit Bumrah, then got into the act by having Mandeep SIngh stumped off a wide ball. He got Corey Anderson for a first-ball duck when the New Zealander hit one to cow corner. Krunal hot his third of the night when Washington Sundar skied a tossed-up delivery into the hands of Suryakumar Yadav.

Mayank Markande reclaimed the Purple Cap when he dismissed Sarfaraz Khan. The young leg-spinner now has 8 wickets in 4 matches and shares the honour with Chris Woakes. Kohli too, had something to cheer when he was awarded the Orange Cap at the end of the match.

We now travel to Jaipur where we will take on the Rajasthan Royals on Sunday, 22nd April.

Brief scores: Mumbai Indians 213/6 in 20 overs (Evin Lewis 65, Rohit Sharma 94, Umesh Yadav 2/36, Chris Woakes 1/31, Corey Anderson 2/47) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 167/8 in 20 overs (Virat Kohli 92*, Jasprit Bumrah 2/28, Krunal Pandya 3/28, Mitchell McClenaghan 2/24, Mayank Markande 1/25) by 46 runs.