Another slow pitch at Kotla and another struggle for Delhi capitals, a team which seem to be more comfortable playing away games than at home.
Mumbai won the toss and sensibly batted first on a slowish Kotla pitch and as past games have shown, it tends to get slightly tougher batting 2nd , particularly if dew is less. Rohit and Decock started fluently and when these two are at a partnership, then there are lots of sparkling strokes on display as was the case in this game as well until Amit Mishra drew first blood by getting Rohit (30 off 22)bowled by a straight delivery which kept low. Ben Cutting (2) sent as a pitch hitter went cheaply and Decock (35 off 27)after another impressive display was runout in a misunderstanding with Suryakumar Yadav to halt Mumbai’s smooth progress. The middle overs went slow for Mumbai till Hardik Pandya (32 off 15) went off like a fire cracker and hammered the skin out of Delhi pace attack in last 3 overs to take Mumbai to 168/5. Hardik hit some brilliant wristy sixes on the onside. Krunal ably assisted him but his innings of 37 notout off 26 balls was a slow progress in final overs and one wondered why Pollard was not allowed to bat earlier than Krunal. For Delhi ,spinners Mishra (1/18) and Axar (1/17) were more successful, Rabada (2/38) though got wickets was relatively expensive.One was left wondering why Lamicchane was not in 1st XI for this game on such a sticky pitch ,where ,looking at the success of other spinners,he would have been a handful here.
In reply Delhi and Dhawan actually started well with the southpaw stroking the ball fluently on a difficult pitch.However after playing a sparking knock of 35 off just 22 balls Dhawan was unfortunately bowled ,having played on attempting a reverse sweep which opened the floodgates for Mumbai as Munro , Iyer and Prithvi (20) all went cheaply.Iyer bowled by a beautiful leg spinner from an impressive Rahul Chahar past the outside edge of the bat. Prithvi once again struggled with his timing and holed out to long on . Pant struggled to get going on a slow pitch and finally his off stump was uprooted by a Bumrah special. The rest of the Delhi batting simply caved in and Mumbai won by a big margin of 40 runs to not only reach the 2nd spot on a points table but also improved on their NRR. Mumbai’s promising leggie Rahul Chahar with 3/19 was the top bowler along with Bumrah (2/18). Hardik Pandya for his batting blitzkrieg and decent bowling (1/17) was the player of the match.
Mumbai as in the past ,starts slowly and then picks up momentum towards the later stages of the event and they seem to be repeating the same this year .Their bowling is one of the best in the tournament and the batting is also falling in place.However they need to bat Pollard higher at number 4 or 5 to extract the best out of his firepower.
As for Delhi, clearly their batting needs a better pitch to fire, with so many strokeplayers and their bowling with some real good quicks requires a pitch like an Eden Gardens or a Wankhede. They have a good spin arsenal for a Kotla pitch but they need to bat first as they have been caught napping in some chases this year. And they must find a way to play Lamicchane in their home games. Delhi are still in a good spot (3rd) on points table but they need to play sensibly and avoid losing many games from here on.