Where do the Mumbai Indians go from here? Sunrisers Hyderabad posted a total so low that all the post-innings talks were centered around the net run rate: how Mumbai can use this opportunity to boost theirs while Sunrisers should look to minimise the magnitude of the loss. Scribes all over India must have had a sigh of relief, thinking finally there's an early finish to an IPL game. Well, they were in for a surprise, eh?
First things first, Sunrisers' performance will not only give them two points, but also create a self-belief, which will keep their morale intact for the rest of the season. To win a game when the opposition is chasing 119 and to clinch it by 31 runs (!!) is brilliant in itself, but is more commendable when they did it without Bhuvneshwar Kumar, their bowling mainstay and vice-captain, and Billy Stanlake.
Having said that, the show which Mumbai produced was downright atrocious. It's always difficult to define such performances but their head coach Mahela Jayawardene summed it up in five words in the post-match presser: "We didn't use our heads."
He added, "We just probably played the wicket thinking there is going to be demons out there but there was nothing there. We just had to knock it around. We did not take any responsibility, so that part was quite disappointing."
Barring Rohit Sharma's dismissal, where the ball gripped and turned away, the pitch hardly played any role in a wicket. But like so often we see in small chases, even Mumbai were apprehensive to get going.
Krunal Pandya, who was batting beautifully on 24 off 20, decided to read the ball off the pitch and was trapped LBW. These were signs that Mumbai were overthinking when all they had to do was keep rotating the strike and target a couple of overs to get over the line. Suryakumar Yadav understood what was needed but failed due to his poor execution.
Despite being four down, Mumbai were in with a chance. In fact, they were the favourites. That's the beauty of defending small targets; all the efforts of the bowling side will go in vain if there are a couple of big overs.
However, Mumbai Indians had to fall back on Kieron Pollard, who, with each passing game, is starting to look a shadow of his former self. If the first five games were a warning, his unforgivable shot on Tuesday was the final nail on the coffin. Hardik Pandya, too, has been ordinary with the bat, but he is keeping his spot in the team thanks to his bowling.
Mumbai have now lost five and won one. Extraordinarily, they found themselves in the same position in 2015. Their fortunes changed in the second half of the tournament though. Mumbai emerged victorious in seven of the eight games and twice beat Chennai Super Kings to win their second title. Is this another 2015 in the making? The chances are negligible.
Mumbai's net run rate was in the positive despite ending on the wrong end four times in IPL 2018. But it took a hit against Sunrisers Hyderabad and it's hard to not reiterate that they lost a low-scoring game by 31 runs. This side of the loss will hurt them the most.
Rohit and Co have dug themselves a hole and unless something miraculous happens, they won't be able to pull themselves out of it.
Where do the Mumbai Indians go from here?