The ‘homecoming’ for Mumbai Indians did not go to plan as the Sunrisers Hyderabad pacers steamrolled them for an easy 85-run victory at the ACA-VDCA stadium.
Sunrisers’ medium-pacers have been in fine form through the season, and they delivered again on Sunday. It was a clinical performance that saw Mumbai fold up for 92 in response to the target of 177 for three.
Senior pro Ashish Nehra led the attack, packing off the in-form Rohit Sharma for naught. He followed it up with two more wickets, even as fellow pacers Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1 for 23), Barinder Sran (2 for 18) and Moises Henriques (1 for 18) kept the pressure on Mumbai. Mustafizur Rahman came on in the later stages and took three to finish off the opposition.
Playing the first of their three ‘home’ games, Mumbai struggled in the new setting. After electing to field, they struggled to get a hold on the contest. Sunrisers’ opening pair of Shikhar Dhawan (82 not out) and captain David Warner (48) took the side to a confident start.
Mumbai’s bowlers struggled to find purchase on what appeared to be a flat track. Sunrisers posted a competitive total, but given the nature of the wicket, it was not a safe target.
Nehra’s scalp of Rohit triggered Mumbai’s collapse, and the other batsmen came and left like the captain. Harbhajan Singh (21 not out) was the only one to keep his wits about him, but with wickets falling at regular intervals, he ran out of partners.
Cutters and yorkers are fast emerging as the number one source of wickets in T20 cricket, and those who can bowl them consistently have become the biggest assets.
Pacers have dominated the wicket-taking chart so far and no team seems to have prospered as much as Sunrisers. Bhuvneshwar and Mustafizur are among the top wicket-takers this season, having taken 13 wickets each in nine games so far.
Nehra, who made a dramatic comeback to the national side on the back of a stellar performance in IPL last year, is not too far behind.
After missing the initial games due to injury, Nehra returned to continue where he had left off. He mixed up his deliveries, disguising the cutters well.
Bhuvneshwar scalped one, but could have had more. Sran and Henriques delivered inspired performances. Captain David Warner saved Mustafizur for the last, but the late entry did not quench his thirst for wickets.