22-year-old Alzarri Joseph stamped his authority in the IPL with a six-wicket haul on debut as Mumbai Indians decimated Sunrisers Hyderabad to record a 40-run win on Saturday. Chasing a target of 137, SRH were all out for 90. Joseph’s figures of 6/12 is the best ever in the IPL, surpassing the record previously set by Pakistan’s Sohail Tanveer while playing for Rajasthan Royals in the first IPL season.
Toss: SRH had won the toss and chosen to bowl first.
First Innings: Mumbai Indians, like SRH later in the day, would have been blown away in double figures had it not been for Kieron Pollard’s blitz in the last two overs. Pollard smashed 39 runs in the 19th and 20th over and pushed MI’s total to 136/7 on a pitch that worked wonders for pacers. Until Pollard cut loose, Hyderabad put up an impressive bowling effort on a slow pitch. While Hyderabad fielded an unchanged side, Mumbai Indians made two changes in the playing eleven with Ishan Kishan replacing Yuvraj Singh and West Indies pacer Alzarri Joseph coming in for Lasith Malinga, who has gone back to Sri Lanka to play in a domestic event.
It wasn’t the best of starts for Mumbai, who lost captain Rohit Sharma (11) and Suryakumar Yadav (7) early to be 30 for two in six overs. Rohit was dropped in the first over by Siddarth Kaul but could not make much use of that life and was holed out at deep midwicket off Mohammad Nabi in the fourth over. Suryakumar, who had hit a crucial 59 in the previous game against CSK, too did not last long and was adjudged leg before wicket off Sandeep Sharma.
Stroke play was proving to be difficult on a slow surface and the situation became worse for the visitors when the in-form opener Quinton de Kock (19) departed after trying to increase the scoring rate. The batsmen especially struggled against Nabi, who ended with envious figures of 13 for one in four overs as Mumbai crawled to 52 for three in 10 overs. After Nabi completed his full quota of overs, his Afghanistan teammate Rashid Khan made life tough for the opposition batsmen. The Hyderabad pacers — Sharma and Kaul — too were up to the task, using their pace well on a slow wicket to stifle the batsmen. Mumbai’s innings hardly had any flow before Pollard provided the much needed final flourish in the death overs by smashing Kaul for three massive sixes in the 19th over that went for 20 runs.
Second innings: West Indies were the toast of the day for MI. While Pollard was the standout batsman, his young fellow Carribean Alzarri Joseph was the hero with the ball. The 22-year-old, who was previously best known as one of the heroes of West Indies’remarkable 2-1 win in a recent Test series against England, started off by getting the wicket of David Warner off his very first ball of the match. Before that, Deepak Chahar had dismissed Jonny Bairstow in the fourth over of the game. This was thus the first time this season that SRH had lost a wicket in the powerplay overs and the first time that Bairstow and Warner did not put up a 50-run stand.
SRH would go on to lose only one more wicket in the first 10 overs of the match but after that, all hell broke loose. The partnership between Warner and Bairstow was of 33 runs and that remained the highest of the game for SRH as Joseph ran through the rest of the batting order with able assistance from Jason Behrendorff and Deepak Chahar. Interestingly, MI’s star bowler Jasprit Bumrah managed to pick just one wicket on the day. Joseph took two wickets in the 18th over of the game which was also the last of his spell to complete his six-fer and Mumbai Indians’ victory.
Gamechanger: Joseph will be hogging the headlines and the limelight, rightly so, but even his searing form would not have been enough to save Mumbai Indians had Pollard not smashed 39 runs in the last two overs.
Captains speak –
Bhuvneshwar Kumar: “When we dropped Pollard, it cost us. Could’ve been an easy chase had we applied ourselves. We could’ve bowled better at the death, but dropped catches will hurt. Otherwise you can’t restrict a team. Captaining is difficult while bowling, but we have experienced team-mates. Our middle-order couldn’t apply themselves, and we’ll assess that moving into the next game. Today’s wicket wasn’t normal or flat, but it wasn’t a tough chase.”
Rohit Sharma: “Very, very pleased. I thought 136 wasn’t a great batting effort, but we held our nerves, kept them guessing. And we stayed in the game till the last ball. Sensational effort from Alzarri. To come out and play like that, shows what he’s capable of. His confidence in playing CPL has paid off. We didn’t bat well to start with. We kept losing wickets. We knew it wasn’t a 180 pitch because of the rain, so it was a bit sticky. But we knew anything around 140 would be a good score to defend. Because of the quality of our bowling. At the toss I said, we back our bowling to defend any total. We spoke that bulk of Sunrisers’ run has been scored by their top order. So we wanted to exploit that by getting early wickets. Once we got those two wickets, we knew we were in the game thanks to our spinners and seamers. We knew we could get wickets in the middle overs, and that’s what happened. We don’t want to be a team who starts off poorly, we want to win games at the start, because it gets hectic at the back end. Few players will leave at the back-end too, so important to start the tournament well too. We needed characters to step up – today was a perfect day for Pollard. Played a crucial knock in getting us to 136. Alzarri too, but credit to the other bowlers we had as well.”