Thursday 23, March 2023

IPL 2022: Giants, Rahul give Mumbai no respite

News Desk: Suryakumar Yadav’s dismissal off a Ravi Bishnoi long-hop typified Mumbai Indians’ season so far. But as long as Kieron Pollard was there, there was life in MI. The big man tried his best, but gradually the asking rate climbed to 20-plus.

Twenty-six runs were required off the final over and MI lost by 18 runs, chasing 200 for victory. Lucknow Super Giants won not only because KL Rahul led from the front and scored a mighty fine century, but collectively they played better cricket than their opponents to thoroughly deserve their victory. Super Giants went to eight points from six games, while after six straight defeats, MI’s fall from the perch has been spectacular.

Rahul’s classy ton

In the 16th over during Super Giants’ innings, as Jasprit Bumrah came back for his final spell, the Brabourne Stadium DJ belted out: ‘Boom, Boom Bumrah’. MI looked flat on the field and their fans were subdued.

In the MI dug-out, Sachin Tendulkar and Zaheer Khan were having a conversation. Of course, it’s not known if the conversation between the two former India stalwarts, now part of the MI support staff, was about Rohit Sharma’s use of Bumrah in this game. By then, Rahul was bossing and the MI skipper probably missed a trick by not using his best bowler against the Super Giants’ skipper right at the beginning.

Rahul’s unbeaten century in his 100th IPL appearance was a result of keeping things simple and steadily growing into the game. In top fettle, his batting is very easy on the eye and 66 runs in boundaries and over-boundaries, out of 103 not out off 60 balls, attested a fine conversion rate in terms of putting away loose deliveries. But MI barely attacked him upfront, when like most batsmen he was vulnerable.

Twice in this tournament, Rahul has got out to golden ducks and one of those was against Rajasthan Royals in the previous game. Sunil Gavaskar on air was imploring Rohit to start the proceedings with Bumrah: “Confront the man who got out twice in the first ball in this tournament with your best bowler.”

The MI skipper started off with the part-time off-spin of Tilak Varma instead. Rahul was very keen to get off the mark. He got a short delivery from the offie and pummelled a pull for a four. When Bumrah was eventually brought into the attack in the fourth over, both Rahul and Quinton de Kock had played themselves in.

Deeper in the mire

In the end, after another batting failure from Rohit and one more disappointing knock from Ishan Kishan, it had become Surya-or-bust for MI. Rohit showed intent, when he regally clipped Avesh Khan over mid-wicket. But he got out a couple of balls later, trying to run one down to third man and getting a thin edge to wicketkeeper. Dewald Brevis came and readily took the attack to the opposition.

Dushmantha Chameera bowled a peach to beat the youngster. Brevis’ response was a stunning six over long-on. Back-to-back fours ensued before Brevis turned his attention to Avesh with consecutive boundaries. It was incredible hitting, but inexperience came to the fore. Brevis made room but mis-hit an Avesh full-toss straight to Hooda at extra-cover. The teenager got ahead of himself.


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