It was a three-way story on Saturday night at the Wankhede Stadium from the moment rain came down at the toss till Tim David made it rain sixes at the end. The two teams playing were bottom-placed Mumbai Indians and playoff hopefuls Delhi Capitals, but looming large over the stadium was the Royal Challengers Bangalore shadow.
In the end, David – a former RCB player who didn’t do much when he was there at the franchise – produced the franchise’s most telling batting contribution of the season, playing for MI. It was a night full of drama, even if not the highest quality of cricket was on show and it ended in joy for RCB, consolation for MI and heartbreak for DC.
Ishan Kishan’s 48 and a late cameo by David helped Mumbai Indians down Delhi Capitals by five wickets, a result that allowed RCB to sneak into the IPL playoffs.
Chasing 160 for victory, David lifted Mumbai from a precarious 95-3 in 14.3 overs to smash 34 off 11 balls as they achieved the target with five balls to spare and knock Delhi out of the final-four race.
“I know a couple of teams were watching us keenly but for us it was important to get what we wanted to get out of this game,” said Mumbai skipper Rohit Sharma as his side – most successful in IPL with five titles – ended bottom of the 10-team table with 10 losses from 14 matches.
“To make sure that we finish on a high and to take some positives from this last game and try to see where we didn’t do well this season and try to correct those mistakes.”
IPL newcomers Gujarat Titans and Lucknow Super Giants made the final-four early, while Rajasthan Royals became the third team to make the play-offs.
Gujarat end the league as number one in the 10-team table followed by Royals as the top two teams will have a second shot at making the title clash even if they lose their first qualifier on May 24.
Lucknow will meet Faf du Plessis’ Bangalore, who ended the league stage on 16 points – two ahead of Delhi (14), in the eliminator on May 25.
Delhi let go of their chances as skipper and wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant failed to take a review when David edged his first ball to the glovesman and replays suggested the batsman had nicked it.
“It’s always hard to put your finger on single aspect of the game. You can rewind the clock to the start of the game as well when our top-order batting was so poor,” Delhi coach Ricky Ponting told reporters.
“Obviously Tim David was out first ball but there are so many aspects that we will be disappointed (with), but the important thing is that the players need to learn from games like this.”
Ponting also dismissed any doubts on Rishab’s choice as leader, stating: “Absolutely no doubt in my mind that Rishabh, even the last season, was the right choice for captaincy.
“He is still a very young man. He is still learning about the captaincy side of things. He has certainly got my full backing and looking forward to getting back working with him next year.”
David hit four sixes, put on 50 off 20 balls with Tilak Varma, who made 21, to put the chase back on track and Ramandeep Singh finished it off with an unbeaten 13.
Kishan and Dewald Brevis, who made 37, put on 57 runs to lay the foundation for the chase.
Earlier left-arm fast bowler Daniel Sams took down fellow Australian David Warner with the swashbuckling left-hander top-edging a catch to short third man.
Jasprit Bumrah soon combined from the other end to send back Mitchell Marsh for a first ball duck and then got Prithvi Shaw, for 24, as Delhi slipped to 31-3 inside six overs.
Pant and West Indies big-hitter Rovman Powell then put on 75 runs for the fifth wicket to rebuild the innings and put pressure on the opposition bowlers.
The left-handed Pant smashed 39 off 33 deliveries and Powell hit a 34-ball 43 before being bowled by Bumrah, who returned figures of 3-25, but Delhi managed a competitive total.
Here are reactions from the thriller between MI and DC:
Report by AFP