The Mumbai Juggernaut finally came to a halt at the Wankhede in the Maharashtra Derby earlier tonight. Mumbai Indians were unable to avenge their defeat at the hands of Rising Pune in their first game of the tournament in this campaign as they fell short in a thrilling chase by just 3 runs. The game saw a much-needed return to form of Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma, who scored a scintillating 58 off 39, but it wasn’t enough as Rising Pune Supergiant emerged victors.
Both the teams came into the fixture with some form. While the mood in the Pune camp was jubilant thanks to the last ball victory secured by their ex-captain Dhoni on Sunday, the Mumbai team has been the form team of the tournament, winning 6 out of their 7 games with the only loss being that against Rising Pune Supergiant on their home ground. The Wankhede venue has offered a distinct advantage to the team batting second this season and that was the reason Mumbai chose to field first after having won the toss. The absence of Krunal Pandya due to injury was the only change across both teams.
Local boy Ajinkya Rahane and the inform Rahul Tripathi gave Pune a brilliant start, putting up a 76 run opening partnership within the first 10 overs. The duo was particularly aggressive against the left armers, McClenaghan and Johnson while quietly negotiating Harbhajan’s wily off spin. Rahane was out caught and bowled in a soft dismissal to Karn Sharma, who was making his debut for Mumbai. Tripathi followed Rahane soon, caught at midwicket trying to pull Karn Sharma for a six. Thereafter, Mumbai picked up the wickets of Smith, Stokes and last match’s hero Dhoni at regular intervals, which kept the Pune scoring rate in check throughout the innings. A sweet cameo from Manoj Tiwari of 22 off 13 ensured Pune reached a respectable 160-6 at the end of their 20 overs.
Mumbai Indians got off to a good start as well, with Buttler and Parthiv putting up 35 within the first 4 overs. However, Buttler was picked up by his compatriot Ben Stokes in the fifth over in the course of a wicket maiden. Nitish Rana, who has been Mumbai Indians’ star with the bat this season, failed for the second time in succession, falling cheaply to Dan Christian. Rohit Sharma came in at the fall of Rana’s wicket. Rohit has been struggling for form of late since coming back from injury and has shown a detectable weakness to spin.
As Rohit continued to calmly find some form in his batting, Patel departed for a well made 33 off 27. Karn Sharma was promoted above Pollard and Pandya, playing a role similar to that of Krunal Pandya. The experiment worked to an extent, as Karn shielded Rohit from Tahir while scoring 11 runs before Stokes returned to get him bowled. At this point, Rising Pune Supergiant’ all-rounder Stokes had figures of 1.1-1-0-2. Sharma meanwhile capitalised on his start even as Mumbai lost Pollard cheaply soon after. Rohit kept chipping away at the total as he brought up his first 50 of this campaign off 33 balls. With 24 to get off the last 2 overs, Stokes returned to bowl a superb 19th over, giving away just 7 runs to leave Mumbai 17 to get off the final over.
After the fall of Pandya off the first ball of the final over, being bowled by Unadkat, it was down to the Mumbai Indians captain to get his team home. The second ball went for a six, raising hopes of the Mumbai fans. However, the end was not to be a happy one for the Mumbai team, as Rohit fell off the 4th ball leaving 11 to get off the 2 balls. Despite the result of this game, both teams retain their standings on the points table. Mumbai remain at the top of the table while Rising Pune Supergiant are now in contention for the playoff berth in 4th position. Ben Stokes was adjudged the Man of the Match for his vital contribution, especially with the ball.