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IPL 2015 MI vs SRH: Sunrisers Support Cast Fails In Small Chase

By on April 25, 2015

Mumbai Indians 157 for 8 (Simmons 51, Pollard 33, Bhuvneshwar 3-24, Praveen 2-35) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad 137 for 8 (Dhawan 42, Malinga 4-23, McLenaghan 3-20) by 20 runs…

Two teams with ordinary investments in Indian domestic batsmen came up against each other in Mumbai, and it all came down to which team’s weaker batsmen would do worse. Mumbai Indians’ Parthiv Patel, Unmukt Chand and Ambati Rayudu scored 29 off 28, which was more or less evened out by the collective 50 off 46 scored Sunrisers Hyderabad’s KL Rahul, Naman Ojha and Hanuma Vihari.

In a small chase, though, with the youngsters struggling, the experienced but one of the least evolved international cricketers over the last eight years, Ravi Bopara made the telling contribution, scoring 23 off 27 on a flat pitch as Sunrisers saw all the good work with ball undone.

With Mumbai refusing to put their best batsmen in the first half of the top six, Rohit Sharma and Kieron Pollard again had to bat under immense pressure.

IPL 2015 MI vs SRH: Lasith Malinga

Credits: ESPN CricInfo

On a pitch that 180 was chased easily, Mumbai managed just 157 against the four-pronged swing attack of Dale Steyn, Trent Boult, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Praveen Kumar. Sunrisers, though, rely heavily on their openers – Shikhar Dhawan and David Warner – but despite a start of 45 for 1 in five overs, the rest contrived to lose by 20 runs.

Mumbai did enjoy some good fortune against the rampaging Sunrisers openers, who first dismantled Harbhajan Singh, the first bowler used by Mumbai, and then looked like running away with the game.

When Warner went to ramp a Lasith Malinga bouncer it came off the pitch a little slower, which meant he ended up guiding it squarer than he wanted and gave third man a catch. In the sixth over Dhawan absolutely crunched a pull off Mitchell McLenaghan, but straight to midwicket.

Now, with the asking rate not steep, with a flat pitch and a quick small outfield on offer, it was a good chance for Sunrisers’ lesser batsmen to finish the chase off and boost their confidence. However, Dhawan’s wicket brought six overs of no boundaries courtesy Rahul, Ojha and Bopara.

They struggled to score even at a run a ball. Ojha perished, Bopara absorbed dots, and the first boundary came came via a top edge when Rahul played a desperate slog sweep. That, though, proved to be an exception to the rule as J Suchith and Harbhajan pushed in another tight over to make it 59 required off 36 balls.

This was still a regulation chase with seven wickets in hand at the Wankhede, but Rahul and Bopara were in an almighty struggle, almost as if in quicksand. The harder they tried the worse they timed the ball. Eventually Rahul fell to a McLenaghan slower ball.

Bopara hung on till the 18th over but managed to hit only one boundary before another McLenaghan slower ball accounted for him. Malinga then finished the game off with style, picking up three wickets off a single over, but Sunrisers’ middle order should know it should never have come down to the tail.

If it was the Sunrisers’ middle order that bumbled, Mumbai continued to be stubborn with their top order. Parthiv and Chand struggle to hit boundaries, and Simmons tends to slow down considerably once the field is spread, which leaves Rohit and Pollard an almighty task in the end.

Simmons, though, didn’t struggle as badly as Bopara did, which proved to be the difference. Despite the Simmons half-century, at a little better than a run a ball, the three added just 73 off 63 balls, in response of which Rohit had to take risks too early and perished.

Pollard tried for the big explosive finish, which didn’t materialise. It turned out his 33 off 24 gave Mumbai enough, but against better batting line-ups such efforts won’t be enough.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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