Five IPL titles are certain to make Rohit the undisputed ‘Numero Uno’ player-cum-leader in the IPL Universe.
Mumbai Indians underlined its status as a true powerhouse team, cruising to a fifth IPL title with a five-wicket victory over Delhi Capitals in the final held at the Dubai International Stadium on Tuesday.
Saving his best for last
MI took the big prize without much fuss, reaching a 157-run target with eight balls to spare. Skipper Rohit Sharma (68, 51b, 5×4, 4×6), not in the best form this season, saved his best for last.
Rohit made his intentions clear early, coming down the track to whack R. Ashwin for a six over long-on off the third ball of the chase.
His partner Quinton de Kock (20, 12b, 3×4, 1×6) packed a punch too. Their pyrotechnics took Mumbai to 58 for one in five overs, effectively shutting DC out of the contest.
The only hiccup came when Suryakumar Yadav and Rohit were stranded at the same end, leading Suryakumar to selflessly sacrifice his wicket. Rohit was eventually dismissed 20 runs short of the target, but he had done his job.
Ishan Kishan (33 n.o., 19b, 3×4, 1×6) ensured that MI’s title march would not be stopped.
After choosing to bat, DC rode on a 96-run partnership for the fourth wicket between Shreyas Iyer (65 n.o., 50b, 6×4, 2×6) and Rishabh Pant (56, 38b, 4×4, 2×6) to post a par score.
The duo came together when the side was in trouble at 22 for three, facing heavy fire from MI pacers Trent Boult and Jasprit Bumrah.
Boult gave MI the perfect start, dismissing Marcus Stoinis with a snorter off the very first ball of the match.
Boult got his second when Ajinkya Rahane glanced one down the leg to ’keeper de Kock.
Off-spinner Jayant Yadav, drafted into the eleven to counter the many left-handers in the DC batting line-up, delivered the goods. Jayant tossed one up to Shikhar Dhawan, who failed to connect while attempting a wild slog and lost his stumps.
Shreyas and Pant prevented an embarrassing collapse, displaying great temperament to steady the ship. Pant opened out in the 10th over, bowled by left-arm spinner Krunal Pandya, striking two big sixes.
The young wicketkeeper-batsman notched up his first fifty of the tournament with a clever ramp shot off Nathan Coulter-Nile, but got out a couple of deliveries later.
Pant’s dismissal put a halt on DC’s scoring rate. Shreyas, Shimron Hetmyer and Axar Patel could not provide much firepower at the death, managing only 38 runs in the last five overs.
Delhi Capitals Innings: Marcus Stoinis c de Kock b Boult 0; Shikhar Dhawan b Jayant 15; Ajinkya Rahane c de Kock b Boult 2; Shreyas Iyer not out 65; Rishabh Pant c Hardik b Coulter-Nile 56; Shimron Hetmyer c Coulter-Nile b Boult 5; Axar Patel c sub b Coulter-Nile 9; Kagiso Rabada run out 0. Extras: (LB-1 W-3) 4
Total: (For 7 wickets in 20 overs) 156
Fall of Wickets: 1/0 2/16 3/22 4/118 5/137 6/149 7/156
Mumbai Indians bowling: Trent Boult 4-0-30-3, Jasprit Bumrah 4-0-28-0, Jayant Yadav 4-0-25-1, Nathan Coulter-Nile 4-0-29-2, Krunal Pandya 3-0-30-0, Kieron Pollard 1-0-13-0.
Mumbai Indians: R Sharma c (sub) b Nortje 68; Quinton de Kock c Pant b Stoinis 20; S Yadav run out 19; I Kishan not out 33; K Pollard b Rabada 9; H Pandya c Rahane b Nortje 3; K Pandya not out 1. Extras (lb-4) 4
Total (For 5 wkts, 18.4 Overs) 157
Fall of Wickets: 1-45, 2-90, 3-137,4-147, 5-156
Delhi Capitals bowling: Ashwin 4-0-28-0, Rabada 3-0-32-1, Nortje 2.4-0-25-2, Stoinis 2-0-23-1, Patel 4-0-16-0, Dubey 3-0-29-0.