Rohit, a riot of emotions
Rohit Sharma is most expressive when he is in the middle of a struggle, which he was in an over against Ravi Bishnoi. It seemed he wanted to take the 20-year-old leg-spinner to the cleaners straightaway, but laboured to read him. Just the second ball he faced he shaped up for the lofted drive over mid-on before he checked his stroke at the lost moment. He grimaced. The next ball, he attempted the big slog-sweep, but only managed an under-edge that ended up nutmegging him. He was foxed by Bishnoi’s flipper. He was gutted and hurled a mouthful of abuse at himself. His anger only swelled when Mohammed Shami effected the run out of Suryakumar Yadav next ball. When the latter was walking back, he seemed to gesture why he called for that run (it was Yadav’s call only). Rohit was spraying emotions all over. The lapse in focus continued, as he missed a cut off Krishnappa Gowtham next over. More self-reproach. But two boundaries—both gorgeously timed—helped reclaim the focus. Thereafter, he hardly wore any emotion on his face—he was mostly blank-faced, and did not even smile when he completed his half-century—until the ball the got out. He shook his head in dismay at the lack of timing in his stroke.
Little joys of Neesham
Jimmy Neesham did what he always does. Bristle in, pound the deck and expend all his variations. Yet, he had neither respite nor luck. He snared Rohit Sharma’s edge with a lovely leg-cutter, but for the nonexistent first slip. He induced several false strokes, but a wicket proved elusive. Towards the end, the always cheery Neesham turned downcast, even petulant at times. Then came a rare moment to rejoice, when he grabbed a simple catch parried by Glenn Maxwell near the long-on boundary. Neesham was cock a hoop, but Maxwell seemed barely amused. Neesham leapt in joy and punched his fists in the air, and finally it took a calm-down gesture from fielding coach Jonty Rhodes to stop his celebrations. Then that a solitary slice of joy for Neesham who endured an agonising day as his match analysis of 4-0-52-0 suggests.
Bumrah, the balm for nerves
Jasprit Bumrah wasn’t coming off a great game against Bangalore. He had gone wicketless in regulation time and conceded 42 runs. In the Super Over, with just seven to defend, Bumrah attempted two well-directed yorkers and even made AB de Villiers lose shape with the short ball but had nothing to show for it. Mumbai had enough on the board, but the Punjab openers Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul had seen off the first three overs from Trent Boult and James Pattinson and made 37 in quick time.
Mumbai were itching for a wicket, Rohit Sharma was a boundary away from chewing his nails. Bumrah, the first-change bowler, bowled short of length to Agarwal before nailing him with a full-length beauty, which moved in and went through the batsman’s defence. Bumrah let out a scream. India’s strike bowler had tasted blood and eased the collective tension of the fielding side.