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Tuesday, December 01, 2020

A class apart: Mumbai show why they are the team to beat

Ishan Kishan comes out swinging for Mumbai Indians after Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult breathe fire.

Written by Vishal Menon | Updated: November 1, 2020 11:30:14 am
iplIshan Kishan is the joint highest run-getter for his franchise with Quinton de Kock (483), but took him just three innings fewer and at a better strike rate and average than the South African, besides from different positions in the batting order.(Twitter/IPL)

With another comprehensive display in all facets of the game, defending champions Mumbai Indians demonstrated why they’re the most complete team in this competition. Led by two world-class pacers in Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult, and well complemented by energetic fielders, they restricted Delhi Capitals to a paltry 110/9. Ishan Kishan then made short work of the chase with his belligerent stroke-play, knocking off the target with more than five overs to spare. The win puts MI firmly at the top with 18 points. On the other hand, Delhi still hold on to the third spot, but have dropped below KXIP in terms of the net run rate. This listless performance – a 9-wicket drubbing – has now made it four consecutive losses for Shreyas Iyer’s team.

Kishan comes out swinging 

It won’t be a stretch to state that Kishan has been the sleeper hit of this IPL. In a team populated with superstars, the youngster from Jharkhand has managed to hold his own. Right from his U-19 days, he was seen as a dazzling stroke-player who could marry grace with power. After a couple of false starts, he is finally delivering on the promise by adding consistency to his attributes. Ever since a 58-ball 99 against Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kishan has been a vital cog in the Mumbai batting order. Such has been the confidence reposed in him that the team management elevated him to the top of the order in the absence of injured captain Rohit Sharma. He has responded with scores of 68 not out, 37, 25 and now 72 not out.

The target of 111 was not going to be much of a challenge. But the slow pitch was posing some questions to Kishan and opening partner Quinton de Kock. However, it didn’t take the 22-year-old much time to get into the groove. A majestic straight drive, followed by two emphatic pull shots, against the pacy Anrich Nortje got him going. There was no looking back from that point. Kishan raced to his fifty in 37 deliveries, and launched Nortje over the square-leg boundary for a six to seal the match for Mumbai in 14.2 overs.

Bumrah, Boult breathe fire

Midway into this tournament, it was predicted that spinners would play a more dominant role going forward as pitches in the UAE were getting abrasive and worn out. But Mumbai Indians have shown that, irrespective of the surfaceon offer, a potent, well-rounded pace attack is always handy. Up against the ragged Delhi Capitals, Boult and Bumrah – their two elite fast bowlers – picked three wickets apiece to restrict Delhi to a grossly inadequate 110/9.

Boult has been quite a revelation for Mumbai in this edition,prising out 12 of his 20 scalps in the Powerplay. It’s not thathe has got prodigious movement with the new ball. But he has cleverly used the angles, employing fullish lengths with the occasional short ball. First-up, he removed Shikhar Dhawan for a duck by inducing a fierce cut shot off a good-length delivery that was gobbled up at point by Suryakumar Yadav. Boult, then came up trumps in an intriguing duel against Prithvi Shaw, conning him with a short delivery. The 31-year-old came back in the penultimate over of the innings to remove Ravichandran Ashwin and finish with figures of 3/21.

With the Kiwi wreaking havoc in the Powerplay, Mumbai’s stand-in captain Kieron Pollard brought on Bumrah as late as in the eighth over. The ploy -to exert the choke on Delhi in the middle overs and at the death — paid off. Bumrah got zip and appreciable lift from the slow Dubai pitch. Bowling with a lovely seam presentation, the 26-year-old honed in on good, old-fashioned Test match lengths, which resulted in the wickets of Marcus Stoinis and Rishabh Pant in the middle overs. Consequently, not only were runs coming in a trickle, but Delhi also kept losing wickets at regular intervals.

Such was Bumrah’s control that for the better part of his spell, he hardly gave the impression that an IPL match was in progress. Searing pace, testing lengths, slips in place, wickets falling in a flurry. Bumrah’s 3/17 took his tournament tally to 23 wickets, at par with Kagiso Rabada.

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