Mumbai Indians v Gujarat Lions, IPL 2017, Mumbai April 16, 2017

Rana, Rohit, Pollard seal another Wankhede chase


Mumbai Indians 177 for 4 (Rana 53, Rohit 40*, Tye 2-34) beat Gujarat Lions 176 for 4 (McCullum 64, Karthik 48*, McClenaghan 2-24) by six wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

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Hogg: Lions should have bowled more short balls to Pollard

The chase-friendly image of Wankhede Stadium has survived yet another test. On a slow pitch, Gujarat Lions rode on a mature 64 off 44 from Brendon McCullum and a blinder from Dinesh Karthik to get 176, which McCullum reckoned was 15 above par given the conditions. However, Nitish Rana - highest run-getter in the tournament now - and Kieron Pollard made light work of the target, making it 19 wins for teams batting second in the last 21 matches at Wankhede. Mumbai Indians solidified their lead at the top of the table with four wins in five matches.

Lions did seem to be putting Mumbai into early strife when Rana top-edged Basil Thampi in the second over. However, Jason Roy, replacing Aaron Finch, whose kit didn't make it with the rest of the luggage, dropped the catch, which could have reduced Mumbai to 11 for 2. By the time Rana finally fell, for 53 off 36, Mumbai were well on their way, at 85 for 2 in the 10th over. Pollard, carrying on from his match-winning batting in the previous match, and Rohit Sharma, slowly rediscovering form, saw the hosts through with three balls to spare

McClenaghan and Malinga start Mumbai off

Mitchell McClenaghan hasn't had the best of tournaments, but from the previous match, he seems to have rediscovered his touch. He began with the wicket Dwayne Smith in the first over, and ended up with figures of 2 for 24 in four overs. It was a pitch he loved, giving him purchase if he banged the ball into the pitch. Malinga returned his worst IPL figures, but that took some excellent hitting from McCullum. They bowled two overs each in the Powerplay, which cost Mumbai just 36.

Harbhajan and Krunal go wide
One of the few offspinners doing well in T20 cricket, Harbhajan Singh - 1 for 22 in four overs - extended his dominance over Suresh Raina, and in partnership, he and Krunal Pandya stifled Lions in the middle overs. The scoreboard will show Harbhajan was slog-swept for two boundaries by McCullum, but they were both hits that went at a catchable height with a deep midwicket in place. McCullum couldn't hit those for usual sixes because the spinners bowled excellent wide lines to both the batsmen, and controlled the amount of turn on the ball.

Raina finally fell to a wide ball from Harbhajan for just 28 off 29. It was the fifth time he had got out to Harbhajan in the IPL, the most against any bowler. Gujarat were now 81 for 1 in the 12th over. A full, straight ball from Malinga soon got McCullum when the latter had just begun to look good for a century. Gujarat 99 for 2 in the 14th over.

Mumbai win cat-and-mouse

The fall of Raina brought out Ishan Kishan, and the dismissal of McCullum sent in Karthik. In the dugout sat the big-hitting Roy. Now, on paper, Krunal bowled only three overs, but Rohit Sharma's canny captaincy had much to do with the absence of Roy for 89% of Gujarat's innings. In T20 cricket in 2016, Roy scored just 65 off 53 balls from left-arm spin and got out thrice. Now, seeing that Gujarat were not sending out Roy, Rohit held back that over from Krunal, which he eventually didn't even bowl. As a result, though, Roy faced only seven balls, off which he got 14, and Kishan instead faced 14 balls for just 11 runs. Krunal contributed more than just 3-0-18-0.

Gujarat end on a high

Karthik, striking at 145.45 this season, took the slow pitch out of the equation with clean hitting, excellent placement and desperate running in his unbeaten 48 off 26. Two of Karthik's four quickest innings in which he has faced at least 20 balls have come this season. This one resulted in 77 off 38 for Lions since he came out to bat.

Rana runs away

Benefitting from that drop, Rana displayed his season form again, taking the orange cap from Gautam Gambhir, who had an altercation with the Delhi coach after Rana had been dropped from the Vijay Hazare Trophy team. Rana hit both off the front foot and back, both into the leg side and off, picked the slower balls and used the pace on the quicker ones. With Jos Buttler, he added 85 in nine overs, leaving Mumbai with 92 off 64 balls.

Pollard ends it

When Rohit chose to field, he said he was expecting dew to play a part in the last 10 overs of the match. While Buttler fell to a slower short ball after yet another decent start, and while Rohit was relieved no doubt that Gujarat didn't have a legspinner, it was Pollard who took the slowness out of the equation, hitting three sixes in his 23-ball 39. Thampi, who had been denied a maiden IPL wicket by that Roy drop, produced a fantastic 18th over of six yorkers for six singles to leave 17 required off two overs. Pollard now took a risk, and was caught at deep midwicket, but Rohit was composed in finishing off with 4, 2 and 2 with eight required in the last over.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Amrith on April 17, 2017, 16:16 GMT

    Basil Thampi has already proved in domestic T20 that he has the ability to bowl effectively in the death overs. Still remember last year's Kerala Vs Punjab T20 in which Yuvraj had difficulty scoring of Thampi's last 2 overs. Yuvraj had already scored a 50 with 3 or 4 sixes by the time Thampi came for his second spell. Now with this match he has shown his calibre in the IPL stage as well. If he can take this to one more higher level then it is assured that Bumrah will get a nice partner for the end overs.

  • SHREYA12 on April 17, 2017, 13:39 GMT

    Mumbai is fortunate to have a left handed batsman (Rana) doing well at 3/4 slots. It brings great balance to the batting lineup, especially after having a left handed opener and another lower down the order (Patil and Krunal). Despite Rohit's low scores in the first four innings, MI have still done alright with the bat. Rohit will need to fire however, for them to have a good chance of getting the title this year. Although I watch very little of the IPL (or any T20 for that matter), I am rooting for MI.

  • JonJon9880850 on April 17, 2017, 9:47 GMT

    One 40 score and here they go again ... "Sharmas" ... LOL

  • syed on April 17, 2017, 8:01 GMT

    Nitish Rana is coming to the rescue of Mumbai everytime.

  • Krishen on April 17, 2017, 7:24 GMT

    @SIVA_BALA75 Cricket is a team sport in which victories are secured by a team with a superior collective batting / bowling / fielding / physical fitness / mental toughness performance with minimal errors over the opponents. Captains can only marginally optimise team performance & aren't coaches / selectors either.

    MI & GL are 2 top balanced teams in IPL 10. GL missed opportunity of a win by a crucial dropped catch & bowling too many wides which proved costly.

  • Dream_4235749 on April 17, 2017, 7:18 GMT

    Suresh Raina is a bad captain...... If he wants some overseas player to bat at no.6, why not choose James Faulkner ? which boosts the bowling performance as well. Faulkner is the only guy in all IPL seasons to bag two 5-wicket hauls.... Pathetic Captaincy from Raina.

  • Utpal on April 17, 2017, 5:35 GMT

    @Hadeslogic, the matches are played to win, team effort is the most important not individual brilliance. Regarding Kulkarni being a cannon fodder, he picked Gayle, Rahul, Kohli in a majestic spell against RCB, it was the strongest batting line up in IPL. by far the best bowling by any GL bowler I have seen. He had 18 wickets in 14 matches last IPL, in top 3-4 Indian bowlers. Only issue with him is that he is not liked by his Captain and he doesnt have lifetime job guarantee like Sharmas of KXIP, presumably because he doesnt come from a certain region unlike Sharmas

  • Siva on April 17, 2017, 1:57 GMT

    I am a big fan of Raina. He is the best IPL player till the last season- yes, the last season. This season, 3 things don't look right: a) he doesn't look fit that we know him- looks a bit overweight? b) His batting is quite conservative and not the explosive Raina that we know of him and c) His captaincy is bad - field placements for Rohit batting, sending Ishan Kishan above DK and Roy?!

  • Raman on April 17, 2017, 1:43 GMT

    Good to see that in this year's IPL, all three metro teams (Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi) are doing very well. Therefore, Chennai is being missed...

  • Vishal on April 17, 2017, 1:03 GMT

    I can't believe they replaced Dhawal Kulkarni with Munaf Patel. Worst selection panel for GL, whoever decides these selections is out of his mind. Pity. They deserved to lose.

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