By Suhas Nayse – SJFI Member
DUBAI: It was High Fives for Rohit Sharma and Mumbai Indians at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Tuesday. Overcoming the doubts about his fitness, Rohit Sharma displayed a blazing innings of 68 to steer Mumbai Indians to a record fifth Indian Premier League title.
In a well-contested summit clash of the 13th edition of the Dream11 IPL, MI stopped the wonderful run of Delhi Capitals by five wickets with eight balls to spare to retain the title, much to the delight of their owners, who flashed their hands from the stands indicating five triumphs.
In pursuit of a competitive target of 157, MI got off to a rapid start with Rohit and Quinton de Kock making their intentions quite clear from the word go. The duo utilised the field restrictions of the powerplay to their advantage as MI raced to 45 in just four overs.
Against the run of play, De Kock (20: 12 balls, 3×4, 1×6) was dismissed on the first ball of the fifth over when Rishabh Pant held him off Marcus Stoinis. The wicket hardly made any difference to the healthy run-rate as in-form batsman Suryakumar Yadav consolidated the position with Rohit with a 45-run stand. Just when it looked the duo would take their side to the destination, a mix-up between the two resulted in the run out of Suryakumar Yadav (19: 20 balls, 1×4, 1×6).
The 33-year-old Rohit then took the onus on himself and completed his yet another IPL half-century. The MI captain added 47 runs with Ishan Kishan for the third wicket. Trying to play a lofted shot to the midwicket fence, Sharma was caught brilliantly by a substitute fielder Lalit Yadav off Anrich Nortje. Sharma’s 68 off 51 deliveries with five fours and four sixes ensured his side’s win.
Earlier, DC skipper Shreyas Iyer hammered an unbeaten half-century to help his team put up a competitive total of 156 for 7. Iyer hit an undefeated 65 off 50 deliveries and smashed six fours and couple of big sixes to give his team a chance to claim their maiden IPL title.
Opting to bat, DC suffered a top-order collapse as speedster Trent Boult (3 for 30) and off-spinner Jayant Yadav (1 for 25) — picked in the playing eleven in place of leg-spinner Rahul Chahar — dismissed the top three batsmen within the first four overs. DC couldn’t take the advantage of powerplay as they managed just 41 runs for the loss of three wickets in the first six overs.
Iyer and Pant (56: 38 balls, 4×4, 2×6) rescued DC with a big partnership of 96 runs. The left-right combination of Pant and Iyer brought back DC into the game with a nearly hundred-run alliance for the fourth wicket.
Defending champions MI seized the momentum back again after Pant’s wicket to restrict them below 160-run mark. Shikhar Dhawan did well to score 15 runs but was guilty of throwing his wicket away when the experienced southpaw played an ambitious cross-batted shot off Yadav and was cleaned up by the offie.
Left-arm seamer Boult got MI off to a flying start by getting last match’s man-of-the-match Stoinis caught behind on the very first ball of the outing. Nathan Coulter-Nile also bowled an excellent spell and returned with an impressive figures of 2-29. For his destructive pace bowling, the 31-year-old Boult was later adjudged man-of-the-match.
It was a memorable day for the MI skipper. The opener not only led from the front but also became the first player in the IPL history to win six titles – five for MI and one for now defunct Deccan Chargers.
Brief scores: Delhi Capitals 156 for 7 in 20 overs (Shreyas Iyer 65 not out, Rishabh Pant 56, Shikhar Dhawan 15; Trent Boult 3-30, Nathan Coulter-Nile 2-29, Jayant Yadav 1-25) lost to Mumbai Indians 157 for 5 in 18.4 overs (Rohit Sharma 68, Ishan Kishan 33 not out, Quinton de Kock 20, Suryakumar Yadav 19, Kieron Pollard 9; Anrich Nortje 2-25, Marcus Stoinis 1-23, Kagiso Rabada 1-32) by 5 wickets. Man-of-the-match: Trent Boult (MI). Player-of-the-series: Jofra Archer (Rajasthan Royals).