Mumbai Indians 170 for 2 (Rohit 56*, Lewis 47) beat Chennai Super Kings 169 for 5 (Raina 75*, Rayudu 46, McClenaghan 2-26) by eight wickets
ESPNcricinfo-Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma promoted himself to No. 3 to guide his team to an eight-wicket win against Chennai Super Kings, after walking in with a required rate at ten per over on a two-paced pitch. Rohit’s well-paced, and unbeaten, half-century first took the pressure off a struggling Evin Lewis and then sealed a chase of 170 in comfortable fashion.
Earlier in the game, Mumbai had fought back after the tournament-leader for runs, Ambati Rayudu, and Suresh Raina, had set Super Kings up for a massive total at 91 for 1 in ten overs. The innings then spiralled downwards and even a late flourish from Raina, who was unbeaten on 75, couldn’t get them enough on the evening.
Mumbai had persisted with more or less the same team for each of their six games before Saturday. When they did decide to make changes, it didn’t seem like too much would change. There was a good chance that the replacements – JP Duminy for Kieron Pollard and Ben Cutting for Mustafizur Rahman – wouldn’t have prominent roles to play if a successful top order remained true to form.
This was doubly true for Cutting, who, despite replacing a specialist bowler, bowled only one over. Super Kings batsmen Rayudu and Raina took him for 14 and brought up a fifty-run stand for the second wicket.
Super Kings lose momentum
Shane Watson had fallen to Pawan Negi in the first over against Royal Challengers on Wednesday. Mumbai waited till the fifth over to bring on their left-arm spinner, but Krunal Pandya’s introduction worked immediately as he induced a slice from Watson that was caught at square leg.
Before that, there was bounce early on that Jasprit Bumrah used to subdue Rayudu and was taken out of the attack, perhaps in a bid to preserve him for MS Dhoni and Dwayne Bravo later in the innings. So Hardik Pandya was given the ball in the Powerplay, despite an economy rate of 10.4 at this stage of an innings in the IPL. He was actually doing well, compensating for the absence of Mustafizur, until Rayudu took 10 runs off his last two deliveries and suddenly Super Kings were 51 for 1 in six overs.
Raina looked more fluent than he has ever been this season, kickstarting his innings with a slog over deep midwicket off the second ball he faced. Mumbai went after him with short ball. At one point, they had short third man, gully and backward point in place but the lines weren’t right. Raina struck two boundaries past short fine, and made a comfortable six runs off three balls square on the off side. The rest of the time, he monopolised his favoured areas on the leg side, making 38 of his 75 at long-on and deep midwicket.
However, he seemed to lose his way. His scoring rate through the middle-overs fell to 138 after the high of 182 at the end of the 10th over. The team began to falter as well and when McClenaghan took out Dhoni and Bravo in the space of three balls, all hopes of a big finish were lost. Having been 91 for 1 at the end of 10 overs, Super Kings could manage only 169 for 5. Bumrah and McClenaghan conceded just 51 runs in their eight overs.
Rohit shows up
Lewis was dismissed for a duck by Deepak Chahar when these teams last played, but the head-to-head tonight lasted only one ball with the seamer walking off the field in the fifth over. At the post-match press conference, CSK coach Stephen Fleming confirmed that Chahar had suffered a hamstring injury and would be out for at least two weeks.
Lewis’ struggle continued even as partner Suryakumar Yadav put his rich form to good use. When their lopsided opening stand of 69 ended through a brilliant take from Ravindra Jadeja at deep midwicket, Lewis was 21 off 26. Although a couple of swats against Imran Tahir got his scoring rate up, the opener’s stay was a troubled one.
That it didn’t hurt Mumbai was down to Rohit’s performance. His one-handed six at long-off, off Watson’s first ball in the 14th over, was the beginning of the phase where the required rate fell below nine. A couple of balls later, he showed that he would control the rest of the chase, getting down to scoop a full ball over fine leg for another six.
All of his boundaries from that point onwards showed a tremendous awareness of the field. A pull over square leg off Bravo, a lofted drive against Watson in the 18th set up for the big 19th over, with Mumbai needing 22 off 12.
At this juncture, Dhoni chose to change Bravo, whose 17th had gone for five, and handed the ball to Shardul Thakur. The bowler nailed only one yorker, the one that got Rohit back on strike. His attempted yorkers then flew over point, two went over square leg and the change-up length ball was expertly dabbed between short third man and point.
With that 17-run over, during which he brought up his fifty, Rohit made sure Mumbai didn’t finish the weekend at the bottom of the table.