There has never been any doubt about the boisterous talent of Mumbai Indians, but their record over the seasons in the IPL hasn’t matched the kind of gift they possess in their midst. On Tuesday against Delhi Daredevils, in front of the packed Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai displayed their full range of potential, with the bat in particular. Two men played knocks that would go down in IPL history as those among the most memorable. Dinesh Karthik and Rohit Sharma were sensational with the bat, some of the strokes which they played being extraordinary.
The most impressive aspect of Karthik and Sharma’s innings was that they led an astonishing counter attack after getting off to the worst possible start. Mumbai skipper Ricky Ponting was frustrated by Irfan Pathan in the very first over and ended up giving his wicket away. Sachin Tendulkar, then defied his experience, to get run out, setting out for a single which never was – the ball going straight into the hands of Mahela Jayawardene at a quick pace. Having lost their two stalwarts for just one run would have jolted Mumbai for sure. This is why their recovery was all the more amazing.
Karthik must be given the highest credit for the big Mumbai win. He did not let the run out of Tendulkar, in which he was involved, affect him. Instead, he remained aggressive without being reckless. Some of the shots which he played at the beginning of his innings were purely well-timed strokes placed in the gap. But once he gained confidence, he hit the ball in the air with ease. The most astonishing aspect of his knock was that he rarely mistimed a stroke during his knock. The first time he actually mishit the ball, he got out. But, by then he had made an unbelievable 86 off 48 balls.
Even though Sharma also played an equally brilliant knock himself, it was Karthik who set the tone of the innings, which is why he was rightfully declared man of the match. What Sharma did very well was to cash in on the tone that Karthik set for the innings. With the pressure off him, Sharma played some exquisite strokes in the effortless manner we know he can. Sharma’s clean hitting was evident from the fact that he hit as many as five big sixes during his undefeated stay at the crease.
Having been clobbered all around the park, the only way Delhi could have given Mumbai a run for their money was if they got off to a blistering start. However, with Unmukt Chand faltering once again, Delhi were in big trouble right away. Most of the other batsmen faltered under pressure. The only time it seemed Delhi were in with a chance was when David Warner and Manprit Juneja played some great shots to take them close to 100 at the halfway stage. But once Warner departed, there was no stopping Mumbai from an emphatic win.
Turning point of the game: Karthik taking on Ashish Nehra in the sixth over. After 5 overs, Mumbai were struggling at 22 for 2. But, Karthik slammed the left-arm seamer for a six and two fours in the next over. Mumbai never looked back from that point.
--By A Cricket Analyst