IPL 2021: Rohit blames batsmen for Mumbai's defeat to Delhi
This is the seventh loss in 12 matches this season for the five-time champions Mumbai
Shreyas Iyer showed steely temperament while Ravichandran Ashwin made up for his poor bowling effort with a final six as Delhi Capitals moved a step close to a top-two finish, beating Mumbai Indians by four wickets in Sharjah on Saturday.
Chasing a modest 130 on a challenging Sharjah Stadium track, Delhi struggled in the chase. But Iyer (33 off 33 balls) anchored the innings and added a crucial, unbroken 39-run stand with Ashwin (20 not out).
Needing just four runs from the last over, Ashwin sealed the chase with five balls to spare as he hit a six off Krunal Pandya.
The win took Delhi to 18 points from 12 games. They need one more win to clinch a top-two finish.
This is the seventh loss in 12 matches this season for the five-time champions Mumbai and their chances of qualifying for playoffs are fading away.
“We knew it will be a difficult venue. We watched a lot of matches, and it’s not the easiest venue to play and make a lot of runs. We were well prepared and we knew what we had to do. I thought we didn’t bat well enough. It wasn’t a 170-180 wicket, but we knew it was a 140 wicket,” Mumbai captain Rohit Sharma admitted after the match.
“We just didn’t get the partnerships going. If your batters aren’t going to post runs on the board, it will be difficult to win games.”
Defending the modest total, Mumbai had a cracking start sending Delhi’s top three — Shikhar Dhawan (8), Prithvi Shaw (6) and Steve Smith (9) — back inside the powerplay.
Kieron Pollard’s direct hit from mid-on caught Shikhar Dhawan short of his crease in the second over, while a superb review call ensured that Shaw was dismissed in a space of four balls in his comeback match.
Smith looked in his zone and pulled Bumrah for a six only to perish to his Australian teammate Nathan Coulter-Nile.
Coulter-Nile cleaned up Smith around his legs with a ball that stayed low.
With no significant partnerships going, it was their former captain Iyer who showed patience and rotated the strike with clever singles.
“I felt really amazing to bat through and take my team through. It was a low scoring game. I backed myself and my instincts. I knew I would win the game for the team,” Iyer said.
Earlier on a day when star bowler Ashwin struggled to find his rhythm, Axar (3/21) dismissed Quinton De Kock (19), Suryakumar Yadav (33) and Saurabh Tiwary (15), ensuring that runs were hard to come by in the middle overs.
But it was their uncapped Indian pacer Avesh Khan (3/15) who continued his dream run in the IPL and set it up for Capitals, hurrying Rohit with sheer pace.
Avesh then returned at the death and dismissed the dangerous Hardik Pandya (17) and Coulter Nile (1) in three balls to further tighten the noose.
Anrich Nortje, who shared the new ball with Avesh, was also tidy with 1/19 from his four overs as Delhi bowlers got their length right on a slow deck.
Such was their discipline that only Surya could cross the 20-run mark.
“In Sharjah, the wicket always plays differently. Yes, it’s a hard-fought victory. We were planning to bowl mostly the fast bowlers in the powerplay. It’s easier for the spinner on these tracks,” Delhi captain Rishabh Pant said.
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