Mumbai Indians continued their winning procession and crushed Gujrat Lions in the 16th match of IPL 2017. Gujrat’s batting line up finally fired and they posted 172 runs on the board. However, even after making an early inroad, the Lions couldn’t contain Mumbai’s strong batting line up and were defeated by 6 wickets in the 20th over.
For Mumbai, McClenaghan and Harbhajan continued to shine with the ball while Rana top scored with an effective 53 and bagged the man of the match award. Skipper Rohit Sharma’s vital runs will also delight Mumbai and so will Krunal’s Pandya’s tidy bowling.
Although the scoreboard might suggest a clinical batting display by Mumbai, their chase could have turned ugly had Jason Roy taken Rana’s catch on Thampi’s bowling in the second over. This dropped catch was the turning point of this match.
The Turning Point
After McCullum’s solid 64, Dinesh Karthik propelled Gujrat Lions’ score to 172 with his sublime hitting at the end. Praveen Kumar then pushed Mumbai Indians further back by getting Parthiv Patel out on the second ball of Mumbai’s innings.
With one wicket already down and a tricky target of 173 runs to get, Mumbai Indians once again had pinned their hopes on Nitesh Rana, their highest run scorer of this season so far.
But Basil Thampi, another promising Indian talent, had others plans as he forced Nitesh Rana to mishit a good length delivery in the air, in the second over of the innings.
The ball after reaching considerable height was dipping towards mid-wicket where Jason Roy was stationed. Roy did the smart work of anticipating the trajectory and settled underneath the ball effectively.
For a while, it did appear as Roy would complete the catch. However, at the last moment, the ball slipped through the hands of the aggressive English opener and Rana took a sigh of relief.
The score at that moment was 11 and Nitesh Rana was playing on nine. With Roy holding on to that catch, Mumbai’s chase would have become even more daunting as their innings in this season so far has rallied around Rana. It would have also increased Gujrat’s grip on the game and would have allowed Lions’ bowlers to test the out of form Rohit Sharma with the new ball.
But Lions failed to cash in on this massive opportunity and from this moment onwards the game slipped away from the visiting team. Rana, taking lessons from his mistake avoided the temptation to play the big shot for the next few overs and focused on getting his eye in.
To frustrate Basil Thampi and to rue Roy, Rana drove Thampi over extra cover for a six in the fifth over and then pulled Tye for another six in the next over. Jos Buttler also played effectively from the other end and these two took Mumbai to a comfortable position.
Rana went on to notch up his second fifty of the season and also stitched a fifty run partnership with Buttler for the second wicket.
The southpaw from Delhi was finally out in the tenth over as his loose cut shot against Tye resulted in a catch to Dinesh Karthik. But by that time, the damage was already done. Mumbai had reached score of 85 and the platform was set for the middle order hitters to display their prowess.
Rana, with yet another fifty, laid the foundation for Mumbai’s victory and also made it easy for Rohit Sharma to come and play freely. All this after being dropped by Roy on nine.
After Rana’ demise, Buttler soon followed him but Rohit and Pollard brought their experience into play and steered Mumbai home in the 20th over.
Earlier in the day, Gujrat’s batting finally fired as McCullum took the responsibility in the initial overs to steer the side. Although Raina and Ishan Kishan failed to contribute in the middle overs, Dinesh Karthik smashed lusty blows and scored a brisk 48 off just 26 balls to give their bowlers a decent cushion of runs to bowl with.
However, the bowling department is still the cause of worry for Lions but Raina and company will look back to this game and may say, had the catch of Rana being taken, the result might have been different.