IPL 2017 Match 11 report: Mumbai Indians vs Sunrisers Hyderabad at The Wankhede Stadium.
In a nutshell:
Mumbai comfortably chased an under-par 159, thanks to Krunal Pandya and Nitish Rana against the Sunrisers Hyderabad after a poor middle order performance and excellent bowling by Harbhajan Singh and Jasprit Bumrah.
How it unfolded:
The Sunrisers were put into bat by Rohit Sharma, and started briskly with an 83 run opening partnership from David Warner and Shikhar Dhawan, who scored 49 (34) and 48 (43) respectively. After Warner lit up the Wankhede with his eye-catching strokeplay and innovative reverse-sweeps, he was caught at short point by a full stretch Parthiv Patel behind the stumps, when Warner tried one reverse sweep too many off Harbhajan. The Sunrisers momentarily cruised to 105-1 off 13.1 overs, a fair score batting first at the Wankhede, before Deepak Hooda was dismissed by Harbhajan for 9 off 9 balls. That precipitated a batting collapse of 6-50 off the remaining 6.4 overs. Ben Cutting’s 20 off 10 was the only substantial score apart from the openers, and Yuvraj (5 off 7), Naman Ojha (9 off 9), Vijay Shankar (1 off 2) and Rashid Khan (2 off 4) all failed. Jasprit Bumrah bowled fantastically for his 3-24, as well as tidy bowling from Harbhajan (2-23) led to his first notable performance in a long time. The Sunrisers innings never really took flight after a promising start and 158-8 was never enough on a dewy Mumbai wicket.
The Mumbai innings got off to a flying start with attractive strokeplay from both Jos Buttler and Parthiv Patel. Jos Buttler was then bowled coming down the wicket to an Ashish Nehra cutter, and the shockingly out of form Rohit Sharma made a speedy exit after being found plumb in front to an excellent Rashid Khan googly. Nitish Rana steadied the innings with a placid 45 off 36, full of neatly timed drives over the off-side field and his innings took the game out of the Sunrisers’ reach. Parthiv fell to a Hooda off-break after casually chipping the ball to long-off, and threw away the chance to take his side home after looking extremely good. Kieron Pollard was the next man in with Mumbai needing 80 off 62 balls. He looked poor against a well-stocked Hyderabad lineup and ended up throwing his wicket away slogging a leg stump half volley to Shikhar Dhawan at square-leg. Cue the Krunal Pandya show. He struck a scintillating 37 off 20 balls, an innings mixed with divine strokeplay as well as powerful ball-striking. But he, too, was unable to take the Mumbai Indians all the way, and found himself caught at deep square leg off a Bhuvneshwar Kumar full-toss with Mumbai needing just 10 off 17. Mumbai managed to lose the wicket of Nitish Rana, who was bowled charging down to a good length Bhuvneshwar Kumar ball, with 4 runs to win off 12 balls. They almost lost the wicket of Harbhajan Singh, who took 2 runs to level the score, but wa saved by a poor throw. Hardik Pandya finally finished the game for Mumbai with 8 balls and 4 wickets to spare as they won comfortably, but not as cleanly as they would have hoped.
Where the game was won:
The wicket of David Warner was the turning point of the game. Had they not gotten the Sunrisers captain out one run shy of his half century, he would have gone on to take the match away from the Mumbai Indians. An excellent catch and poor batting from Warner prevented that from happening.
The end overs fightback and poor middle order batting. As mentioned in the preview, the weak middle and lower middle order of the Sunrisers, coupled with the strong death bowling of the Mumbai Indians was always going to make pushing on and scoring a massive total difficult for one of the weakest middle orders in the IPL. They did not deliver, as their dependence on Moises Henriques, Shikhar Dhawan and David Warner finally cracked, and the 158 they put up was 20 to 30 runs shy of the target they needed on a dewy, flat Wankhede.
Nitish Rana and Krunal Pandya’s knocks averted a potential collapse, with a strong Hyderabad bowling unit and a poor Mumbai batting lineup. They did not take excessive risks but kept the run-rate below 8. While they both got out with few runs left to score, they still left very little for the Mumbai lower order to do. In addition, Nitish Rana’s fantastic form is noteworthy, with 3 thirties in as many games, with 2 of them being match-winning efforts under the pressure of a collapse.
Rant Begins: Hyderabad’s selection of Ben Cutting can be likened to Australia’s continued selection of Mitch Marsh, or India’s constant choosing of Stuart Binny. Cutting is a bowling allrounder for his home team Queensland, but was put in a spot where he needed to play as a batting all-rounder. Despite a good first over with the ball, Warner waited far too long to give him a second, and this strange trend in selection, of picking a bowling allrounder and expecting him to bat as well as a frontline batsman, and then not giving him overs to bowl is not only shocking, but is one of the reasons the Sunrisers went back to the hotel the unhappier of the two teams. The non-selection of Moises Henriques was strange, as they have used him effectively as a number 3, with scores of 52 in both his last 2 games, as well as excellent form in his last 10 games of all competitive cricket. He is a good 6th or 7th bowler (they have Vijay Shankar as well, who is more than handy with the ball), which is what they needed when they already had 4 frontline bowlers in Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ashish Nehra, Rashid Khan, Mustafizur Rahman, and 4 more than competent ‘part-timers’ in Deepak Hooda, Vijay Shankar, Moises himself and Yuvraj Singh. Rant Ends.
The Sunrisers will need to go back to the drawing board with their middle order concerns. Without a consistent middle order performer in Moises, they look depleted batting-wise. Be Cutting cannot be expected to stand up as a batsman despite his clean hitting. Yuvraj Singh is highly inconsistent and can take a while to get going. Naman Ojha has not lived up to his potential in the IPL and Deepak Hooda’s domestic form is not replicated on the IPL stage. Vijay Shankar’s hot domestic form may make him the ideal candidate to stand up in a weak middle order but he, too is inexperienced and new to the IPL. Perhaps by playing Barinder Sran for Ben Cutting, they can introduce the solid Kane Williamson into their middle order, or simply carry out a like-for-like replacement with Moises for Cutting. Their bowling looked good on what was a difficult wicket to bowl on in a second innings, and they took continuous wickets despite being in a losing position. Their bowlers were not ideal for these conditions, with Mustafizur’s effectiveness being ‘dampened’ by the dew. But despite that, they did not go down without a fight. Fielding was largely free of errors, an anomaly on what has been a poor tournament for fielders in general.
The Mumbai Indians have gained momentum riding on the shoulders of an excellent bowling lineup. However, the Mitchell McClenaghan question is yet to be answered. His wicket taking abilities have decreased, but his economy rate has been consistently in double figures, a poor sign for a bowler who is keeping both Tim Southee and Mitchell Johnson out of the game. They may have to replace him in the next game, which is at the batting friendly Chinnaswamy against a batting attack comprising of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers. The batting order does not look in good shape either. Without the performances of Nitish Rana and the Pandya brothers, the underwhelming top order’s low scores would have been extremely apparent. Rohit Sharma has been poor since his return and Jos Buttler and Parthiv Patel have thrown away starts. Kieron Pollard does not deserve a spot in the team for either his bowling or his batting, and perhaps giving a specialist in Nicholas Pooran or Lendl Simmons, or playing an Indian batsman in Saurabh Tiwary would be a better bet. A like-for-like switch with Asela Gunaratne would be the optimal option as far as the writer is concerned, as his six hitting ability, coupled with his having dealt with high pressure rebuilding along with his dibbly-dobblies are far more effective than Kieron Pollard, who not only occupies an overseas spot, but also leaves a gaping hole in an already weak batting lineup. He operates as the 7th bowling option, a role Rohit Sharma could fill.
What this means for the tournament:
The Mumbai Indians will be pleased that they sit 3rd on the table, behind the Sunrisers and Kings XI Punjab on Net Run Rate. They play their next game at Bangalore against a rebuffed Bangalore side with their captain, Virat Kohli back in the squad. Bangalore, along with Pune is the most similar venue to Mumbai in terms of flatness of the pitch, lightning quick outfield and small boundaries and they will need a strong showing with the bat if they want to be able to prove their worth away from home.
The Sunrisers are now placed 2nd, behind only the Kings XI Punjab. They face the Knight Riders this Saturday at the Eden Gardens, and will hope for a win in conditions that are perfectly suited to their bowling attack and will be confident of turning their fortunes around in Kolkata.
Vedant Jain is a contributor at CricMetric. For any queries or information, email email@example.com