IPL 2023: Rohit's return to form a big positive as Mumbai wins finally

Mumbai beat Delhi by six wickets in the IPL on Tuesday


Leslie Wilson Jr

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Mumbai Indians' Rohit Sharma plays a shot. — AFP
Mumbai Indians' Rohit Sharma plays a shot. — AFP

Published: Tue 11 Apr 2023, 11:01 PM

For the second successive day the IPL was decided on the very last ball of the innings and for the second time it was a case of ifs and butts.

After losing both their opening matches, five-time champion Mumbai Indians travelled a roller coaster before pulling the irons out of the fire for a heart-stopping six-wicket victory over a courageous Delhi Capitals.

Outstanding innings by Delhi’s David Warner and Axar Patel were answered by Mumbai’s Rohit Sharma and Tilak Kumar as the match was won and lost in 12 dramatic delivers, which has become the norm in this year’s tournament.

Mumbai will take a lot of positives from the win, especially Rohit's return to form.

Here are the highlights

Hit or miss

Delhi, looking for its first win in the tournament, required 20 runs in the final two overs after losing the wickets of Varma (41 off 29 delivers), Suryakumar Yadav (0), and Rohit Sharma (66 off 45).

At the crease were giant six-footers Cameron Green and Tim David. Sixes from both ensured only Mumbai would need just five runs off six balls.

But South African pacer Anrish Nortje, sporting a mustache reminiscent of the fearsome Australian pace bowler Merv Hughes, had other plans for the batsmen.

Deadly yorkers

Bowling bullet-like Yorkers at a speed of over 140 mph Nortje tied up both batsmen allowing them only to scramble across for cheeky singles.

As the tension rose, so did the crowd of over 40,000 at Delhi’s Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium.

Nortje delivered with the precision of a marksman, not giving Green or David even the slightest chance to attempt a big hit.

It was down to two runs from the final delivery and you could almost hear the crunching of fingers and the biting of nails in the stands.

Against this backdrop, Green managed to put bat to ball and run like there was no tomorrow. David did the same.

The two batsmen crossed each other in a blur and incredibly completed two runs.

Mumbai had won, finally.

Early fireworks

Chasing a total of 173 Mumbai Indians appeared to be cruising to victory after skipper Rohit and Ishan Kishan (31 off 26, with six 4s) got them off to an absolute flyer.

Another barnstorming knock by the hugely exciting Tilak Varma (31 off 26) had the former champions looking at completing the easiest of victories.

Stoic Warner

There is no denying that David Warner has been a prolific run-scorer this season. However, the only downside is that he has taken his time to get runs. More time than perhaps even he would have liked. And he openly admitted it.

His 51 off 47 delivers took the former Australian skipper’s tally to 201 from four innings, but did little to push the run rate as may have been desired. Rather when he did attempt to accelerate, Warner perished to a leg-cutter from Australian pacer Jason Behrendorff, his wild swipe only succeeding in falling into Riley Meredith’s hands at short backward point made look difficult.

Axar’s cameo

Axar Patel proved once again what a fighter he is when joining forces with Warner to forge an innings-build partnership of 67 runs. He was clearly the dominant of the two at the crease clearing the fence on five occasions and finding it four other times.

Patel’s aggression helped Delhi reach what may have looked like a respectable total at that point in the match but it was ultimately not good enough.

Brief scores:

Delhi Capitals 172 (Axar Patel 54, David Warner 51; Jason Behrendorff 3-23)

Mumbai Indians 173/4 (Rohit Sharma 65, Tilak Varma 41; Mukesh Kumar 2-30).

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