Lendl Simmons, like most of his contemporaries from the Caribbean, can pack a punch. But what sets him apart from the other marauders is that he manages to blend brute force with a tinge of finesse. Not surprisingly, this has made him a hot property in T20 leagues across the world. Much of these traits were on display on Saturday when he walked out to bat with Parthiv Patel to play his first fixture in IPL 10 here at the Feroz Shah Kotla.
The Trinidadian was coming into this game after more than a month’s hiatus — having last played an international fixture for the West Indies during the T20 series against Pakistan in April.
Thankfully for the Mumbai Indians, he didn’t show any signs of rustiness. He got into the groove by stroking Delhi’s fast bowler Patrick Cummins for a six and a boundary in his inimitable fashion. Simmons displayed his wide repertoire of shots, but it was the series of pulls and slash shots against Delhi’s captain Zaheer Khan and Mohammad Shami that stood out. Along with his fellow-opener Patel, Mumbai were off to a flier, scoring 60 runs during the Powerplay. In between all this, he also reminded everyone at the Kotla of his impeccable gift of timing the cricket ball. There was one particular shot off Shami that stood out. It was nothing more than a gentle push, but it just sped off the turf, piercing the gap between cover and mid-off fielders.
The opening stand between Simmons and Patel was worth 79 runs, which had come in a shade under nine overs. If anything, it had given Kieron Pollard, who walked in at No.3, the platform to tee off. With two explosive batsmen from the Caribbean in the midst, a score in excess of 200 was in the offing. Pollard began by clubbing Amit Mishra for a brace of sixes. What was impressive was that he was willing to play straight. On a placid Kotla track, which had little on offer for the spinners, this ploy worked for him. In the midst of Pollard’s lusty hits, Simmons continued in earnest. He brought up his fifty – his 11th in 23 IPL innings. A little later, he would go past 1000 IPL runs. Simmons departed for a well- compiled 66, but Pollard continued with the fireworks.
Daredevils fizzle out
The first delivery of Delhi’s chase summed up their travails. Sanju Samson, for that split second, would have thought that he had timed it pretty well. But to his horror, found Lendl Simmons had plucked a straight forward catch at deep square leg.
In pursuit of Mumbai’s 212, Delhi would bow out for 66, their lowest total in IPL history, and one run less than what they could muster against the Kings XI Punjab in Mohali last week. The 146-run loss was the biggest in terms of runs in the IPL. Rahul Dravid’s young batting line-up once again showcased they were prone to extremes. After getting shot out for 67 against Punjab, they would hunt down 209 against the Gujarat Lions couple of nights ago.
That was the second-most successful chase in IPL history. They needed to do that all over again against table-toppers Mumbai tonight. Instead they wilted against the precision and bite of Mumbai’s well-rounded bowling attack that was ably led by their two overseas fast bowlers Mitchell McClenaghan and Lasith Malinga. In the end, without even one reasonable partnership, Delhi’s innings meandered into oblivion.
Brief scores: Mumbai Indians 212/3 (Simmons 66 off 43 balls, Pollard 63* off 35; Rabada 1/33) bt Delhi Daredevils 66 all out in 13.4 overs (K Nair 21 off 15; K Sharma 3/11, Harbhajan 3/22, Malinga 2/5) by 146 runs