When you win the toss and elect to bat in a T20 game, the obvious purpose is you have a target in mind that the opposition cannot reach. In the case of Mumbai Indians all their targets have been so dismally low that any opposition can overhaul that without too much trouble. In a strange way, the MI squad has been consistent in putting up scores in the range of 125-140 this season. Rohit Sharma has not been in a great form, Rayudu has failed to click, Adiyta Tare has been found wanting, Pollard does not look menacing and Mike Hussey has failed. MI should take cognizance of the fact that until the last season, KXIP opened their innings with Adam Gilchrist, who had stopped playing for Australia long ago and at the age 40+ was not the same batsman he used to be. KXIP paid the price with poor performance in the last couple of season. The same thing is happening to Mumbai Indians, who have the 38 year old Mike Hussey in their ranks. Even on paper, the MI line-up does not inspire confidence. After the early loss of Sharma and Tare by the 4th over, Corey Anderson and Rayudu bore the responsibility of keeping the wickets intact as also provide a fillip to scoring at a brisk rate. Under the circumstances, they did what they could. By the time Rayudu fell as the 4th wicket, MI had already consumed 9 overs for a mere 46 runs. Mike Hussey was dropped down the order but the ploy didn’t work. For a change, Pollard scored some runs and so did C. Gautam. Rate of scoring was a shade over 6 runs per over in the end as MI finished with 125/6 in 20 overs. If MI thought Lasith Malinga alone is enough to defend this target, they were proved wrong. Yes, Malinga created hopes by snatching 2/17, but he could not have bowled more than 4 overs. While there may not be much time, MI have to still find a solution to lift their scoring rate if they must bat first.
Delhi Daredevils played with ease as the openers put on 34 for the first wicket and 45 for the second. With JP Duminy coming up the order at no.3, another 24 were added, when the third wicket fell in the 16th over. Pietersen struck some hefty blows and DD finished an easy win with 7 balls remaining.
In the other match, CSK defeated Sun-Risers Hyderabad by 5 wickets and needlessly made life difficult for themselves in the end. Hyderabad had chosen to bat after winning the toss but could not pile up enough runs to make the target stiff. Shikhar Dhawan and David Warner were both removed by Ben Hilfenhaus in the 3rd over at the same score of 15. Aaron Finch, however, continued in the company of Lokesh Rahul and two of them added 52 for the third wicket, before Rahul fell at the score of 67. Venugopal Rao made a small contribution but the scoring rate had dipped noticeably even as Finch fell as the 5th wicket for 109 in the 18th over. SRH were rescued in the death overs by some lusty hitting by Darren Sammy and Karn Sharma and they finished with 145/5 in 20 overs.
CSK were not perturbed since the target was easily achievable, given their impressive batting line-up. Half the job was achieved, when Dwayne smith and Brendon McCullum put on 85 for the first wicket in the 11th over. Smith notched up a typically aggressive 46-ball 66 with 4 fours and 5 sixes and McCullum made 40 off 33 balls with 3 fours and 2 sixes. But the rate of scoring dipped as Suresh Raina departed early and du Plessis fell for a duck. Later, Ravindra Jadeja took 9 balls for his 6 runs and even Dhoni batted with some caution. The inevitable victory for CSK came with just three balls remaining. To the credit of SRH, their lead bowlers were restrictive. Dale Steyn gave away only 20 in his 4, without taking any wickets, while Bhuvi Kumar conceded 23 but also took 2 wickets.
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