Mumbai Indians pay the price for holding back trump card

  • Somshuvra Laha, Hindustan Times, Hyderabad
  • Updated: Apr 20, 2016 12:49 IST
Mumbai Indian batsman Rohit Sharma plays a shot during IPL Match against KKR in Kolkata on Wednesday. (PTI Photo)

It’s in the interest of a team that their most proven batsman gets to face the maximum deliveries. Mumbai Indians chose to give Rohit Sharma, their best bet, 24 balls less than what he ideally gets.

The tinkering, prompted by Mumbai’s unflattering form while batting first, might have been triggered by Martin Guptill’s inclusion. Even then, it doesn’t get any bigger than an opening combination of Guptill and Rohit. Mumbai stuck with Parthiv Patel at the other end and demoted Rohit to No 4.

In the context of a must-win game, it reflected lack of judgment from the most star-studded coaching staff in the IPL. A clean hitter of the ball, Rohit normally uses the power-play to find a few boundaries that helps him settle down. Once he does so, Rohit is confident of consolidating the start. This time, he had to do away with that as he came in with Mumbai 23/2 after four overs.

Guptill was removed with a peach of a moving delivery from Bhuvneshwar Kumar before Patel’s mindless slog off Barinder Sran’s slower delivery got an inside edge to crash into his stumps. The wobbly situation put Rohit under pressure to accelerate the run rate. Denied those boundary deliveries, the pressure mounted and he capitulated, getting run out.

A dismissal as crucial as this effectively pegs back a team by at least two or three overs. Jos Buttler didn’t help the team’s cause either with a poor dismissal in the 11th over when he nicked a delivery going down leg. Had it not been for Ambati Rayudu’s resistance, Mumbai Indians would have stared at a smaller total. Krunal Pandya also contributed to the effort with a hattrick of sixes at the expense of Bipul Sharma in the 14th over. The duo staged a small comeback in the 14th and 15th overs by producing 39 runs.

With bowlers like Bhuvneshwar and Mustafizur Rahman in the bank, Sunrisers Hyderabad fancied their chance of pulling back the run rate. Their last five overs went for 7, 5, 7, 6 and 6. The non-productive 16th and 17th overs got to Rayudu, who was dismissed first ball of the next over from Sran.

After Hardik Pandya’s dismissal, Mumbai’s hopes of crossing 150 evaporated. Batting orders are shuffled to produce more runs. It’s difficult to say how much Mumbai would have scored had Rohit stuck to opening the batting. Instead, they got a run less than their total in the previous match.

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