McClenaghan, Bumrah help Mumbai extend lead at top


-Mumbai Indians v Delhi Daredevils, IPL 2017, Mumbai

By: Karthik Krishnaswamy

Mumbai Indians 142 for 8 (Buttler 28, Mishra 2-18, Cummins 2-20) beat Delhi Daredevils 128 for 7 (Morris 52*, Rabada 44, McClenaghan 3-24, Bumrah 2-21) by 14 runs

Chris Morris made a fighting, unbeaten 51 but Delhi Daredevils were always struggling after slipping to 24 for 6 in their chase of 143 © BCCI

Batting first for the first time in six matches, Mumbai Indians never really got going on a bouncy Wankhede Stadium pitch that also provided grip for spin and cutters, and only managed a total of 142. It turned out, however, to be more than enough to give them their sixth win in seven matches and strengthen their position on top of the IPL table.

A couple of early wickets put an inexperienced Daredevils batting line-up under pressure, and the top half fell away in no time. They lost five wickets inside the Powerplay and another in the seventh over to slip to 24 for 6. A seventh-wicket stand of 91 between Kagiso Rabada and Chris Morris ensured Daredevils stayed in contention, but some smart end-overs bowling from Jasprit Bumrah ensured the target remained a fair way out of their reach.

With Daredevils needing 46 from 24 balls, Bumrah conceded only four runs from the 17th over, and, after Morris had clattered a big six off the last ball of Mitchell McClenaghan’s 18th to bring it down to 30 off 12, came back to concede only five off the 19th while taking out Rabada with a yorker.

It left Hardik Pandya 24 to defend off the last over – he landed his wide yorkers there or thereabouts, and Morris and Pat Cummins could only manage 10.

Daredevils chip away after Buttler blitz

Jos Buttler’s 28 off 18 balls wasn’t the biggest innings and was definitely not the prettiest – his first two boundaries, off Morris, both came off the top edge – but it ensured Mumbai had some momentum through the Powerplay. They lost two wickets in those six overs – Rabada, making his IPL debut, yorked Parthiv Patel, and the fleet-footed Sanju Samson ran out Buttler – but also scored 48.

Daredevils had picked perhaps their strongest attack – with Rabada joining Morris, Cummins, Zaheer Khan and Amit Mishra – and the tactic continued to pay off. Mumbai were five down by the end of the 13th over, with Mishra’s googly accounting for Rohit Sharma and Krunal Pandya. There was plenty of turn on offer, and Kieron Pollard, in particular was struggling against him – at the end of the 13th, he was batting on 4 off 13 balls.

Mumbai patchy in slog overs

Pollard clubbed three fours in the next two overs, and Mumbai were 102 for 5 after 15.

Before this match, Daredevils boasted the best economy rate in the last five overs (7.71), and Mumbai the best batting run rate (12.26). Mumbai would score 40 in their last five in this game. Cummins, Morris and Rabada varied their pace well, and either bowled short of a good length and into the body, or pitched it right up. Hardik Pandya hit two sixes, off what were probably the only two balls that were really in his hitting zone in his 23-ball innings. In an effort to keep Hardik on strike with only the lower order for company in the last two overs, Mumbai suffered two run-outs too.

McClenaghan revels as Daredevils stumble

Daredevils had fit Rabada, Morris, Cummins and Corey Anderson into their side, which meant no place for Sam Billings at the top of the order. Sanju Samson, Aditya Tare, Karun Nair and Shreyas Iyer made up Daredevils’ top four – plenty of talent but not a whole lot of experience at the top level.

An attempt at a chancy single led to Tare’s dismissal off the fourth ball of Daredevils’ innings, and when Samson drove McClenaghan uppishly and straight to mid-off in the next over, uncertainty gripped their batting. Iyer, shuffling this way and that, seemed a little off with his timing and McClenaghan dismissed him in his next over off a tickle down the leg side. A bit of skid into Anderson and McClenaghan had three in two overs.

Karun Nair, struggling for form all through the season, played out a nervy maiden off the next over, failing to get to grips with Mitchell Johnson’s pace variations. Then Mumbai struck two more times – Rishabh Pant poked uncertainly at Bumrah and edged to slip, and Nair, feet going nowhere, chopped Hardik on.

Morris, Rabada save face

Rabada had been promoted to No. 7, above Morris, and he showed both technique and an ability to hit cleanly down the ground while dominating the early part of the seventh-wicket partnership. Once they spent a few overs at the crease, the smallness of the target became apparent again. With five overs remaining, Daredevils needed 52. You would usually favour the batting team in those circumstances, but not a batting team that had lost so many early wickets.

McClenaghan and Bumrah, moreover, had two more overs to get through each. McClenaghan mixed slower short balls with quick short balls, and Bumrah, generally aiming fuller, varied his pace just as well. Rabada’s limitations as a T20 hitter quickly became apparent, and there wasn’t much Morris could do either. Daredevils only managed 27 off McClenaghan and Bumrah’s 24 end-overs deliveries. (ESPNcricinfo)

Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo


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