Chasing a target of 173, Mumbai Indians – who looked in cruise control until the 18th over – suddenly found themselves in a tricky situation but the Australian duo of Tim David and Cameron Green ensured the team crossed the finish line with a double on the final ball.
Earlier in the day, Delhi Capitals captain David Warner laboured to 51 off 47 balls before Axar Patel flaunted his much-improved batting skills again with an impactful 54 off 25 balls to push the hosts to a competitive 172 at Arun Jaitely Stadium after being asked to bat.
With the pitch on the drier side compared to the first game here and finger spinners getting plenty of assistance from it, Mumbai Indians had a tricky task at hand but with his classy 65 off 45 balls, Rohit helped his side record their first win of the season.
With Cameron Green (17 not out off 8) and Tim David (13 not out off 11) in the middle, Mumbai needed five runs off the final over. South Africa pace spearhead Anrich Nortje bowled brilliantly to take the game down to the very last ball before David got the required two on the last delivery.
Promoted to number three, the in-form Tilak Varma came up with a crucial 41 off 29 balls and forged a 68-run stand with skipper Rohit. It was a much-needed win for Mumbai after back-to-back defeats while the season got worse for Delhi who suffered their fourth loss in as many games.
Rohit Sharma at his vintage best
When Rohit charged down the track to pacer Mukesh Kumar in the first over of the innings to pull him for a six over mid-wicket, one could see a special knock coming.
There is no better puller in the game than Rohit and that was on full display at the Feroz Shah Kotla. His second six was even better as he pulled Anrich Nortje off the front foot over wide long-on. Rohit’s biggest six came off a pull shot too as he smashed a short ball from Nortje for a massive hit over deep square leg.
Delhi were able to stem the flow of runs in the middle overs via spinners Lalit Yadav and Axar Patel before Varma produced timely boundaries to keep Mumbai ahead in the game.
Delhi fight back in death overs
Needing 30 off the final five overs with nine wickets in hand, Mumbai were on course for a comfortable win before Mukesh dismissed Varma and Suryakumar Yadav (0) off successive balls.
The nerves increased in the Mumbai dressing room when Rohit fell to a moment of brilliance from young keeper Abhishek Porel who dived to his right to take a sensational one-handed catch off Mustafizur Rahman. However, the towering Australian duo David and Green took their team over the line.
Piyush Chawla proves his mettle, again
Earlier, veteran Piyush Chawla, who was commentating in the IPL last season after going unsold, showed he has still got his sublime skills intact with a three-wicket haul for Mumbai Indians.
Prithvi Shaw, who struggled in the first three games, hit some high-quality boundaries in his 10-ball 15 before falling to a sweep shot off spinner Hrithik Shokeen. Number three Manish Pandey (26 off 18) used his feet brilliantly against the spinners but that also led to his downfall.
Yash Dhull, who made his IPL debut after warming the bench for the whole of last season, could last only four balls. When Chawla trapped Rovman Powell with a googly in the 11th over, Delhi were staring at a below-par total at 86 for four.
Axar Patel shines with bat
However, Axar joined a struggling Warner in the middle and single-handedly changed the momentum of Delhi’s innings. Arguably the most improved batter of the Indian team over the last 12 months, Axar made his intentions clear with back-to-back inside-out sixes off Shokeen.
Two overs later, it was the turn of left-arm pacer Jason Behrendorff to be at the receiving end of Axar’s onslaught. After dispatching him for a six over long-on, Axar targeted the same area again and got lucky as Suyakumar Yadav missed the catch completely and got hit above his eye with the ball going all the way.
Surya was expectedly taken off the field after that nasty hit. Axar’s fifth and last six was the best of the lot as he smashed Meredith over the latter’s head to bring up his half-century.
Mumbai put the brakes on the scoring rate by picking four wickets in the 19th over bowled by Behrendorff, who ended with figures of three for 23 in four overs.
(With PTI inputs)
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