DC vs MI IPL: Rohit Sharma shines for MI, wins last ball thriller

Despite a timely half-century from Rohit Sharma and 41 from 29 from Tilak Varma, Mumbai were forced to scramble over the line.

DC vs MI IPL: Rohit Sharma shines for MI, wins last ball thriller
  • Sinchan Saha | April 11, 2023 | 7:29 pm

IPL 2023, 16th Match: Mumbai Indians 173 for 4 (Rohit 65, Tilak 41, Mukesh 2-30) beat Delhi Capitals 172 (Axar 54, Warner 51, Chawla 3-22, Behrendorff 3-23) by six wickets

Mumbai Indians held their nerve with the last wad of a rough, pressure fuelled cellar fight against Delhi Capitals to hook themselves off the lower part of the IPL standings with their first success in quite a while this season, and sentence their rivals to a fourth continuous misfortune in a season that is no nearer to presenting any solutions to their various issues.

Image Source: ESPN Cricinfo

Piyush Chawla moved back the years, and tore his googlies, to present game-molding figures of 3 for 22 either side of a couple of chalk-and-cheddar fifties from David Warner and Axar Patel, however in spite of a convenient 50 years from Rohit Sharma and 41 from 29 from Tilak Varma, Mumbai had to scramble over the line, into the teeth of a superb last over from a siphoned up Anrich Nortje.

With just five runs to defend against Cameron Green and the impact sub Tim David, Nortje nailed his yorkers perfectly and was only let down by his fielders. First, David was spared by a poor drop from Mukesh Kumar at midwicket, and then David was able to dive home for the second run with two runs left from his final ball thanks to a poor loopy shy from Warner at mid-off, avoiding the Super Over.

In truth, it was a challenge where Mumbai had bossed the key minutes – first through Chawla’s mid-innings entry points, then, at that point, with the scalping of five wickets in the last ten chunks of Delhi’s innings that had held their objective to a gettable 173. The visitors had also benefited from the run chase’s early exchanges, as Rohit’s 65 from 45, including a fifty off 29 balls, led to a 68-run powerplay. However, armed with two death overs and aiming swiftly, full, and furiously throughout, Nortje nearly saved the day after Mumbai failed to end the chase when the going was still good.

Chawla shows he’s still got it

Chawla’s googly has not lost any of the startling impact it first made more than half a lifetime ago in 2005 when, at the age of 15, he bowled Sachin Tendulkar in a Challenger Trophy match. Chawla is 34 years old and has not played for India in more than a decade. Two of his three wickets today were on point wrong’uns to Rovman Powell and Lalit Yadav separately, to tear the heart out of a Delhi batting line-up that, Axar’s appearance to the side, was never permitted to rise out of second stuff.

In a whole spell from the seventh to the thirteenth overs, Chawla returned the outstanding figures of 3 for 22, with just a support of Warner limits upsetting his generally complete hold over Capitals’ hitters. Powell and Lalit were confounded in consecutive overs by a pair of leg-stump-seeking googlies, the former thumping the pad and the latter plucking the stump clean out, after a threatening Manish Pandey skipped to the pitch but was beaten in flight to scuff a legbreak to long-off.

Chawla’s only real mistake came in the middle of the off, when Warner, who was 37, slammed a drive straight through his grasp. In comparison to Suryakumar Yadav’s unfortunate spill on the boundary’s edge off Axar, which was a fairly routine miss, he left the field shortly after his spell, appearing to be nursing a sore finger for his efforts. Poor Suryakumar, who was having the worst season of his career and was looking for a break, was hit in the head with a full-blooded slug and left the field with a possible concussion. However he did ultimately show up at No.5 in Mumbai’s pursuit, he before long wished he hadn’t, as a first-ball flick off the hip to fine leg finished his fourth brilliant duck in his last six innings.

A pair of contrasting fifties

In the middle of a four-wicket 19th over from Jason Behrendorff that also included ducks for Kuldeep Yadav and Abishek Porel, Axar and Warner were within three balls of each other, but there their stories converged. With a strike rate of 218 and 54 from 25 balls, Axar left the game. At almost exactly half his teammate’s tempo, Warner scored 51 from 47.

It was Warner’s third century in Capitals history, but all three have come from more than 40 balls, 43 this time, and his lack of celebration was clear evidence of another sluggish performance.

On the one hand, at least he was present, providing the oyster with some grit that his middle-order teammates, including debutant Yash Dhul, were unable to muster. On the other hand, Axar’s carefree fluency told a different story about an innings in which too many chances to score were missed.

Axar is undergoing a startling maturation as a batsman of some repute. His first fifty in the IPL included five sixes, four fours, and a Riley Meredith slot ball, all of which were hit down the ground. His fifty came from 22 balls. He was the Capitals’ sole source of momentum for five consecutive overs from the beginning of the 14th to the end of the 17th, while Warner contributed only five out of nine at the other end.

The Hitman cometh

Image Source: ESPN Cricinfo

41% of people polled in the middle of the broadcast said they would still pick Warner over Rohit at the top of their IPL order, which may say a lot about the criticism Rohit has received since India’s disappointing T20 World Cup performance. However, in the midst of an exhausting powerplay assault, those doubts vanished as Rohit sped to a 29-ball fifty that provided the proactive backbone that the Capitals’ own innings had lacked.

In Mukesh’s first over, Rohit Sharma set the tone for Mumbai’s chase with a clip for four off the pads and a violent slap for six over deep midwicket

Mumbai’s openers were moving at a rate of more than 11 runs per over in the powerplay when Nortje strayed into his slot two overs later, and he was also violently thrown into the stands.

Ishan Kishan, on the other hand, got off to a flying start against the quicks as well, scoring three fours in his first four balls from Mustafizur Rahman’s left-arm seam. Ishan, on the other hand, was less confident against the spinners than Chawla was. After scoring 28 runs off his first 15 balls, he scored just three runs off his next 10 before Rohit, who was cold-blooded at both ends of the field, effectively retired him out with a call for a run to point that didn’t exist.

Mumbai fall over the line

Perhaps the Capitals’ most likely matchwinner had not yet made his debut at this point. Tilak’s rubbery wrists and feet produced a pair of sixes in his only two overs, preventing him from imitating Chawla’s impact, but Kuldeep’s left-arm wrist spin did make its entry in the ninth over. And when Tilak smoked Mukesh for a four and two sixes in his first three balls to end a run less run of 11 in three overs, the game appeared to be over with 34 out of the remaining 27 needed.

Image Source: ESPN Cricinfo

However, Mukesh was not finished yet. When Suryakumar’s miserable match came to an abrupt end one ball later, everyone’s attention shifted back to Rohit as the result of Tilak’s subsequent angry shot that hit Pandey deep in midwicket. Rohit was only able to toe-end an attempt to steer through to the keeper when Mustafizur hit a wide yorker, which relieved the pressure a little bit. Unexpectedly Mumbai had two men at this point to confront, and an angsty finale to arrange. Green and David did just enough despite Nortje’s unwavering efforts, with each man picking off a six that left Nortje with just too little to defend in the final three balls of an otherwise excellent effort from Mustafizur.