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Mumbai’s Bruteforce Drowns KKR, Repeats History And Sets Up IPL Final As The Maharastra Derby

May 21, 2017

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Mumbai Indians are one of the best teams in the IPL at drawing up strategies against individuals. They did it some many times in the past and did once more in the IPL 10 qualifier 2 having put KKR into bat on another difficult Chinnaswamy pitch. Jasprit Bumrah and Karn Sharma combined beautifully for their team with both claiming their best T20 figures on the same day taking 7 for 23 in 7 overs to leave Kolkata in all sorts of trouble. The team from the West had specific plans for each of their opponent batsmen, especially for those who have been hogging the limelight this season. And the way they executed their plans to perfection was an absolute delight to watch.

Yusuf Pathan left out:

Reason: Though Pathan was expected to play a bigger role in the absence of Andre Russel, especially in finishing games; he has blown more cold than hot of late.

Result: Dropping Pathan meant KKR was now without Manish Pandey, Andre Russel and Yusuf Pathan. With inadequate experience in the middle order and lack of batting depth they were always going to struggle at the backend of the innings. Rohit Sharma knew it very well. So unlike previous games, against a top-heavy batting side he decided not to preserve Bumrah till the end, rather give his best bowler a go at the time when KKR have looked the most dangerous batting side; and it paid off.

Picking Karn Sharma over Harbhajan:

Reason: Harbhajan Singh has bowled really well in this IPL. He has brought all his experience come into play and has been extremely economical. He has bowled prolifically inside the powerplay with an immaculate economy rate.  Also he bowled very well at the middle overs whenever he bowled and there was not more than one instance when he went for plenty. That of course was in a match that produced more than 450 runs in the 40 overs, so there’s nothing much to blame him about. Also when it comes to these do-or-die games, he has picked up more wickets than anyone else. Still MI had other thoughts. Since Lasith Malinga hasn’t looked the bowler he used to be and Pandya brothers are not quite the wicket takers, the men-in-blues preferred Karn’s wicket taking ability to Harbhajan’r economy.

Result: Karn Sharma justified his selection in the very first over he bowled. Not only his economy was as good as that of Harbhajan, but more importantly he picked up wickets, one after another to push Kolkata right on the edge.

KKR’s decision to stick with Narine at the top:

Reason: KKR wanted to have an out-and-out hitter at the top who can make the most of the powerplay. If it pays off then it’s great, if it doesn’t then still they don’t have much to lose as the guy who was sent out is not a regular batsman. And since Sunil Narine has done exceeding well at that particular venue against RCB smashing the fastest fifty of the season, even though he struggled against quality bowling units the Knight Riders didn’t change on what they have been doing in the most of the games.

Result: The Friday night Bangalore wicket was much different from the one on which Narine had his 15-ball-half-century. It demanded safety-first approach in the first six overs. But Narine knows only one way to play and with that he was never going to succeed against a top-quality bowling side like Mumbai. He ate balls in the powerplay, failed to get the big shots away and by the time he fell MI had obtained a firm grip over the match.

The abovementioned were the 3 prime factors that had a lot to do with the fate of the match. It actually set up the things nicely for the bowling team and allowed them to launch an all-out attack on the batting side straightaway. And what we witnessed till the first strategic timeout of the game was nothing but the effect of these 3 pre-match decisions – 31 for 5 at the end of the 7th over and 99 out of 100 times you know that game as done and dusted.

About the dismissals

Chris Lynn: Hitting over long-on has been his strength and even there’s a man back in the boundary, it doesn’t deter him from playing that shot. One reason behind Bumrah taking the new ball against Chris Lynn must have been his exaggerated angle into the right hander from where it’s not easy to hit him down the ground. Also Bumrah generates some extra bounce with the high-arm action he has, and generates it from a length the batsmen are not quite prepared for. Bumrah did Lynn for extra bounce, hitting a bit higher on the bat than the latter would have wanted; and at the same time it was some great captaincy from Rohit Sharma who had both the third-man and the fine-leg fielders inside the ring to have Pollard back at the fence who made no mistake at long-on.

Sunil Narine: MI made a note of the fact that Narine scores a majority of his runs in lofted off drives and through mid-wicket. So they stationed a man at long-off denying him the drive and cramping him for room. Karn Sharma capitalized on the tone set by the quickies. He made a cautious attempt to bowl wicket-to-wicket and into the pads of Narine who soon came charging down the wicket out of frustration, only to see the ball spinning away from him with Parthiv Patel doing the formalities behind the stumps.

Robin Uthappa: Jasprit Bumrah’s inward angle also got the better of Uthappa who has a tendency of planting his front-foot across and play around it. Bumrah, who was bowling his second over inside the powerplay, only third time this season slipped one up nice and full as the ball went on to ping Robbie’s pads – LBW.

Gautam Gambhir: The captain was watching wickets falling from the other end, just as he did a match prior to this one – the only difference being that SRH offered too much of width to Gambhir and also didn’t bowl the right length as the left-hander sliced at anything outside off and pulled whenever it was banged short. Mumbai did neither. They continued to bowl him around his 5th stump and he was beaten on numerous occasions. He wasn’t quite picking Karn Sharma either. And eventually he decided to offer a cross-batted stroke against him, which was not the worst option considering that it offers a wider second line of defence and also doesn’t allow the ball to sneak through between the bat and the pad. He got the timing, not the placement though and Hardik Pandya was never going to refuse offerings like that – arguably the most crucial moment of the match.

Colin de Grandhomme: Just a ball later to the one off which Gambhir picked the deep mid-wicket fielder, Colin de Grandhomme had no idea about the delivery from Karn Sharma. Neither did he go forward nor went back to the googly he didn’t pick and was rapped on the pads, owing to which KKR was reduced to 31 for 5.

With the kind of cricket Mumbai Indians have played in this season, it was clear that they wanted to be in the grand-finale. They might not have the best of their nights with the bat the other day when their batting collapsed to RPS in front of their home fans. But they were never going to shy away from taking the hard route into the finals, especially Kolkata Knight Riders being their opponents, against whom they have always claimed a huge stake. With the victory at Chinnaswamy, the head-to-head between the two teams goes up to 16-5 in favour of MI.

I am pretty sure though that it must not have left Mumbai Indians overjoyed. Despite being the IPL-giants they would know that they are to face Rising Pune Supergiant in the final, a team that has been extremely difficult for them to beat both home and away. However they don’t need to think about that too much, because if they win the Maharastra Derby tonight then nobody will remember their last 3 defeats against RPS. On the other hand, if they lose, it’s still going to be as disheartening as it can be.

Both MI and RPS have gone great lengths to make it to the finals after two months of hard work. And finally we are in for the night that will decide everything. Neither of the teams will want to lose, but either of them will have to.

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3 Comments
  1. Pallavi Roy permalink

    old monotonous game strategy with lack of confidence have made KKR out from IPL.. if they were not in 4th no. We can see them play with MI in IPL final… MI IS ALWAYS BEST AND HOPE THEY WILL BE WINNER OF THIS SEASON….

    • MI are easily the best team on paper. But RPS have given them tough competition in the field. Though neither history nor on-paper-strength will matter in the finals. Team that can hold their nerves will be considered as favorites. Mumbai have been there before. So they know what it’s all about. On the other hand Pune will be relying on the Dhoni-Fleming duo in this regard. Nobody has been a part of more finals than these two. Should be a good match as it promises to be.

  2. Pallavi Roy permalink

    old monotonous game strategy with lack of confidence have made KKR out from IPL.. if they were not in 4th no. We can see them play with MI in IPL final… MI IS ALWAYS BEST AND HOPE THEY WILL BE WINNER OF THIS SEASON….

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