The Mumbai Indians climbed to fourth in the Pepsi IPL 2015 standings after they defeated the Delhi Daredevils by five wickets at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Set to chase 153, MI recovered from a poor start to knock off the runs, eventually crossing the line in the final over.
MI lost Lendl Simmons to the first ball of the chase, trapped lbw by Zaheer Khan. The hosts experiment with Hardik Pandya didn't reap too many rewards as the Baroda-lad lasted eight balls before being dismissed in the second over. A bit of panic set in after the chase was interrupted on two occasions by unexpected showers; in between the two showers, MI lost the wickets of opener Parthiv Patel and Harbhajan Singh, who was promoted to number five.
Rohit Sharma and Ambati Rayudu put the chase back on the rails when play resumed with a 60-run partnership. With the run-chase entering the final stretch, the leg-spinner Amit Mishra struck for the visitors when he delivered a googly, which the MI skipper didn't pick and dragged it back on to his stumps. Rohit Sharma made 46 from 37 balls aided with two boundaries and three sixes.
Needing 53 runs from the final 28 balls, MI turned on the heat through Ambati Rayudu and Kieron Pollard. Rayudu, who needed 30 balls for his 25 runs, picked on Zaheer Khan first up, hitting the first delivery of the seventeenth over for a six over long on. He then hit Angelo Mathews for two boundaries an over and took the team closer to the target. The 29-year old remained unbeaten on 49 from 40 balls, aided with four boundaries and a six.
At the other end, Pollard exploded; he contributed 26 runs from 14 balls, aided with three humongous sixes. After opening his account with a six off Amit Mishra, he added two more sixes to his tally – one off Nathan Coulter-Nile and the second off Imran Tahir, that levelled the scores. MI, who needed 32 off the final three overs, got past the line comfortably with three balls to spare.
The leg-spinner Amit Mishra was the most economical of the DD bowlers, returning figures of 1 for 25 from his four overs, while Zaheer Khan (2-30), Zaheer Khan (1-32) and Angelo Mathews (1-33) all chipped in with wickets.
Earlier in the evening, after opting to bat first, the Delhi Daredevils posted a competitive total of 152, riding largely on Yuvraj Singh's half-century. Despite losing opener Mayank Agarwal to the first ball of the match, DD recovered through a 43-run partnership between Shreyas Iyer and JP Duminy. The pair milked the MI pace bowlers and ensured they made good use of the ball coming on to the bat.
But the introduction of spin in the sixth over – in the form of Harbhajan Singh - put the brakes on the scoring rate. The MI off-spinner struck first ball, dismissing Shreyas (19 from 18 balls) who top-edged an attempted heave to be caught at short thirdman. Duminy (28 from 19 balls, 3 fours, 2 sixes) would be dismissed in the following over when the left-arm spinner J Suchith pulled off a very sharp return catch stretching fully to his left.
Yuvraj Singh survived a testing spell of bowling from his Punjab teammate and ensured he batted almost to the end. It wasn't the kind of innings that one normally associates with the left-hander; at the end of 15 overs, he had 24 from 29 balls and had struck only three boundaries.
But in the final quarter of the innings, he let himself loose and picked up four boundaries and two sixes. In the 17th over of the innings, he helped himself to three boundaries – one through midwicket, one off the inside edge which raced to fineleg, and flamboyant cover drive. In the 18th over, he hit Mitchell McClenaghan for two sixes – first with a swot off that deposited the ball over the lines at fineleg, and then unleashed the signature whip that deposited the ball into the stands at squareleg. That second six also brought up his half-century – his second of the season.
Yuvraj Singh was dismissed at the end of the nineteenth over when he fiercely cut a wide delivery from Malinga but was intercepted by Lendl Simmons at point; he made 57 from 44 balls and hit seven boundaries and two sixes on the day.
Kedar Jadhav (16 from 15 balls), Angelo Mathews (12 from 10 balls) and Saurabh Tiwary (13 from 11 balls) all made useful contributions as DD finished their allotted twenty overs at 152 for 6.
For the hosts, Harbhajan Singh was sensational; the off-spinner was on the mark from the first ball, bowled the right pace for the pitch, and bowled his four overs – which included one maiden over – for 11 runs. While picking up the wickets of Shreyas and Kedar Jadhav, the MI off-spinner also bowled 16 dot balls in his spell. Malinga picked up two wickets, while Suchith and Hardik Pandya picked up a wicket apiece.
Delhi Daredevils 152-6 in 20.0 Overs (Yuvraj Singh 57, Harbhajan Singh 2-11) lost to Mumbai Indians 153-5 in 19.3 Overs (Ambati Rayudu 49*, Nathan Coulter-Nile 2-30)
Man of the Match: Harbhajan Singh, for his economical spell of 2 for 11.