Pune: Ever since taking over the Mumbai Indians captaincy midway through the 2013 IPL season, Rohit Sharma has been a genuine match winner for his side. Be it batting first, or during a chase, Rohit has been the backbone of a Mumbai Indians’ victory on numerous occasions.
Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma plays a shot during the IPL T20 match between the Rising Pune Supergiants and the Mumbai Indians at the Maharashtra Cricket Association's International Stadium in Pune on Sunday. Pic/AFP
Yesterday evening at the MCA stadium against Rising Pune Supergiants here was no different, as the Mumbai Indians’ Hitman once again produced a gem of a knock (85 not out off 60 balls) to see his side home with eight wickets and nine balls to spare.
Rising Pune Supergiants player M S Dhoni plays a shot during the IPL T20 match between the Rising Pune Supergiants and the Mumbai Indians at the Maharashtra Cricket Association's International Stadium in Pune on Sunday. Pic/PTI
After the Mumbai Indians bowled brilliantly in the last 11 overs to restrict Rising Pune Supergiants to 159 for 5; it was the Rohit show all the way.
Rohit was aggressive right from the start and the visitors’ skipper made sure that the required run rate never went out of control with some sublime batting.
Rising Pune Supergiants' Saurabh Tiwary plays a shot against Mumbai Indians. Pic/ AFP
Rohit in 6000-run club
He got couple of strong partnerships; first with Ambati Rayudu (52 runs off 7.4 overs) and then with Jose Buttler (69 off 41 balls) to seal the team’s comfortable win. This was Rohit’s fifth IPL-9 half-century while chasing. He also completed 6000 runs in his T20 career in the process.
Mumbai Indians Jasprit Bumrah celebrates after taking the wicket of Rising Pune Supergiants batsman Steven Smith during the 2016 Indian Premier League(IPL) Twenty20 cricket match between Rising Pune Supergiants and Mumbai Indians at The Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune. Pic/AFP
Supergiants were off to a flier despite losing their in-form batsman Ajinkya Rahane early. Steve Smith, who scored a century in Supergiants’ last game, hit Tim Southee for three consecutive fours to give the hosts some momentum, although two of them came off an inside edge.
Mumbai Indians players celebrates the wicket of Rising Pune Supergiants player Steven Smith during the IPL T20 match between the Rising Pune Supergiants and the Mumbai Indians at the Maharashtra Cricket Association's International Stadium in Pune on Sunday. Pic/AFP
The Australian Test captain then smacked McClenaghan for a four and a six in the next over, followed by another maximum in Krunal Pandya’s next over. Smith’s heroics allowed Supergiants to race to 54 for 1 by the end of Powerplay.
Saurabh Tiwary, the other opener, joined the act soon after by hitting Krunal Pandya two sixes and a four. The Tiwary-Smith partnership (84 runs from 45 balls) took the hosts to 91 for 1 by the end of nine overs.
Jasprit Bumrah broke the stand in the 10th over, when he got one to bounce extra to catch Smith’s edge, which was comfortably caught by Parthiv Patel behind the wickets.
That wicket turned things dramatically as none of the following batsmen were allowed to cut loose for the rest of the innings. Mumbai Indians stuck to their bowling plan, executed it well, and pulled things back brilliantly.
The likes of Harbhajan Singh, Hardik Pandya, Bumrah, McClenaghan nd Southee all chipped in with some very tight overs. Harbhajan’s four overs went for just 25, while Pandya conceded 14 from his two.
Southee, Bumrah and McClenaghan were at their accurate best at the death. The Mumbai Indians conceded just four boundaries in the last overs of the Supergiants innings, such was their control. From 91 for 1, Supergiants were able to score only 68 runs off the next 11.
Rising Pune Supergiants: 159 for five in 20 overs (S Tiwary 57, S Smith 45; J Bumrah 3-29) lost to
Mumbai Indians 161 for two in 18.3 overs (R Sharma 85*, J Buttler 27*; R Ashwin 1-21) by eight wickets