Mumbai Indians continued their winning streak, claiming a fourth straight win in a row, in the process, handing out yet another defeat to Delhi Daredevils at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. On a day when unseasonal rain and lightning surprised the city, Mumbai ensured that there fans had another reason to cheer. They put up what can be described as a competent all-round performance. Their bowlers were on target, and the batsmen got runs when needed, thus never allowing Delhi much of a chance in the game. The victory will surely enhance Mumbai’s chances of progressing to the last four.
Mumbai’s bowling in the match was top class, as they never allowed Delhi to get going right from the start. Lasith Malinga gave Mumbai the perfect start, taking out Mayank Agarwal first ball. It was not the kind of start Delhi needed as it dealt a big setback to their confidence. The bigger wicket was that of Shreyas Iyer, who has been Delhi’s best batsman this season. Iyer was looking good yet again, but Harbhajan Singh brought his experience into play to get rid of him. The wicket gave Mumbai a massive boost.
Harbhajan was clearly the star performer with the ball for Mumbai. His spell of 2 for 11, including 16 dot balls, speaks volumes of how well he controlled things out in the middle. He did not concede a single four or six, and also chipped in with the wicket of Kedar Jadhav, who was looking in decent form, and could also have proved dangerous. Harbhajan apart, Mumbai’s overall bowling effort in the game was commendable. Malinga kept things tight for most part, and was also among the wickets. The weak links, J Suchith and Hardik Pandya, were also among the wickets.
Although Mumbai won with ease in the end, their batting tactics were baffling again. Having lost Lendl Simmons early, they needed to settle in, but instead sent Hardik Pandya in at number three. His early loss put additional pressure on Parthiv Patel, who also gave his wicket away. Mumbai’s strange tactics continued as they promoted Harbhajan up the order. Normalcy only returned when Rohit Sharma and Ambati Rayudu got together. It was their partnership that kept Mumbai afloat else they could have been in greater trouble. Kieron Pollard also came in and played a crucial cameo that put Delhi out of the equation.
Though Delhi lost again, they had their moments in the game. After a nervous start, Yurvaj Singh finally got his act together with a fighting fifty. But again, it was the case of a one-man show which hurt Delhi, as has been their trend throughout this IPL. With the ball, they had Mumbai in trouble at 40 for 4, thanks to excellent early-overs bowling by Zaheer Khan, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Angelo Mathews. But, they could not build on the same, and once Mumbai got a partnership going, Dehi looked clueless again.
--By A Cricket Analyst