Bowlers, Rohit fire Mumbai Indians to fifth win


Pune—Mumbai Indians brought the curtains down on Maharashtra Day with an eight-wicket win over Rising Pune Supergiants at the MCA Stadium in Pune. Rohit Sharma’s fourth half-century in a successful chase this season – an unbeaten 60-ball 85 – helped make light work of a 160-run target and sealed Mumbai’s fifth win with nine balls to spare. Rohit completed the job that was set up by Mumbai’s bowlers, who conceded only 66 in the second half of Supergiants’ innings after Steven Smith and Saurabh Tiwary had clobbered the ball all over the ground in a swift second-wicket stand of 84.
A flurry of boundaries, misjudged catches and misfields formed the crux of the first 10 overs of the Supergiants innings after they were put in to bat. Ajinkya Rahane was dismissed early but Smith, who offered a tough chance to Parthiv Patel on 1, was quickly into his stride, hitting three successive boundaries off Tim Southee in the third over.
The confidence of a century in the previous game showed in Smith’s intent to dominate. One moment, he was pulling in front of square. Next he swiftly used the depth of the crease to cut and ramp the ball over third man. He raced to 33 off 14 deliveries as Supergiants brought up their fifty in the sixth over. Smith was not the only Supergiants batsman to ride his luck. Tiwary should have been dismissed for 4 by Mitchell McClenaghan but Jasprit Bumrah fluffed a regulation chance at mid-on in the fourth over. Galvanized by the let-off, Tiwary raced from 6 off 11 deliveries to 34 off 22 balls. He was eventually dismissed for 57 off 45 balls, his first IPL half-century since 2013.
Tiwary’s formula was simple: staying deep inside the crease, he cleared his front leg and used his broad shoulders to repeatedly find the leg-side boundaries. He was severe on left-arm spinner Krunal Pandya, who was hit for two sixes and a four in his second over that went for 20.
Bumrah was brought back with Supergiants at 91 for 1 in nine overs, and he struck off his second delivery as Smith’s attempted dab down to third man resulted in a deflection to MS Dhoni. From there on, the innings stuttered like a two-stroke engine running out of oil. Peter Handscomb was also dismissed quickly and those wickets not only allowed Mumbai to apply the brakes, but also brought about hesitancy in Tiwary’s game. MS Dhoni, who walked in to bat at No. 5 in the 13th over, also struggled to bring out his big hits.
While McClenaghan hustled the batsmen with pace, Bumrah varied his lengths effectively with yorkers and cutters. Harbhajan Singh, too, kept a lid on the runs by darting the ball and cramping the batsmen for room. The squeeze meant that Supergiants scored only three fours and a six in their last 11 overs. Mumbai had the momentum going into the break and Rohit made his intentions clear when they came out to bat.—AFP

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