Rohit Sharma does a captain cool
The Mumbai Indians captain did a near-perfect impersonation of CSK skipper MS Dhoni when his side was challenged with a required run rate of over 12 with three overs remaining in the game. Sharma stood his ground and timed the ball effortlessly to help Mumbai close the gap on the target by just five runs before the last over. He scored 26 runs from the last eleven balls and not for once seemed overawed by the situation despite his poor form in recent times.
Sharma’s brilliant knock at Pune was nothing short of a masterpiece. In the penultimate over, with 22 needed to win, Sharma played four exceptional shots, all of which raced to the boundary ropes with ease.
The first was a stretched out slice over point, the second an easy-as-you-like-it flick to fine-leg and the third, which completed a hat-trick of boundaries, a deft touch through gully off a slower short delivery. He sealed the over with a fourth four courtesy a sweep shot off a bowler who was consistently clocking over 140kmph earlier in the match.
Dhoni forgets Dwyane Bravo?
Just when it seemed like the stage was set for Dwyane Bravo and his Chris Cairns-like slower balls and fast outside-off stump yorkers, Dhoni decided to pull a Joginder Sharma out of his bag. The all-important 19th over was handed to young Indian fast bowler Thakur.
In Dhoni's defence, Thakur had proved more than once how he could be a handful in the back-end of an innings despite having a tendency to give away runs gift wrapped with a ribbon on top in earlier spells.
The ploy backfired as Sharma trounced Thakur and Dhoni chose to pull another bunny out of the hat when he decided to bowl Tahir over Bravo with five to win off the last over. Safe to say his instinctive gambles did not quite pay off.
The flying Chennaiman is in it for his fielding
Haven’t we watched, adored and applauded Robin van Persie's incredible goal during the 2014 World Cup when the Netherlands thrashed Spain 5-1 in Brazil? Well, after that brilliant header, Van Persie was dubbed as 'the Flying Dutchman'. On Sunday, after Ravindra Jadeja pulled off a stunner in the boundary ropes at Pune, we saw the 'Flying Chennaiman' who is plausibly in the playing XI just for his fielding. RvP should be proud of Jadeja.
— Sir Ravindra Jadeja (@SirJadeja) April 28, 2018
Guess who was the highest run-scorer in T20Is in 2017? Evin Lewis. Guess how quickly he scored his runs? At a rate greater than 150. Guess how many Test matches he has played? Zilch.
On a bizarre night in Pune, Suryakumar Yadav and Evin Lewis swapped roles and it turned out to be an eye-opener for Mumbai. Purchased for big money at the auctions, Lewis’ job was to get Mumbai off to a flying start but it seemed like he was fighting for a Test place when he ambled along to 13 in 22 balls with the required run rate skyrocketing to 10 an over.
To his credit, Lewis did turn things around by scoring his next 34 runs in 21 balls but the damage caused by his poor start nearly cost Mumbai the game.
MS Dhoni dons the umpire’s hat
When MS Dhoni stumps and appeals, more often than not he has his man. Such is his presence of mind and cricketing brain that Dhoni is often called the best umpire on the field. Saturday bore witness to yet another incident where Dhoni showed his immaculate judgment.
With him finding the sweet spot of the bat yet again this season, CSK were threatening to push for 200 but Mitchell McClenaghan found a devious ploy to get rid of a settled MS Dhoni. The Kiwi seamer delivered a high full toss outside off-stump that Dhoni could just time to the deep cover fielder.
The umpires, though, wanted to check for a possible waist-high no-ball. While replays kept streaming, Dhoni had decided that he was out and did not waste time in trudging to the dressing room even though the umpires were yet to give him out.
Hitman just needs a bat and one hand
We hear stories of top-edged sixes over the keeper’s head and miscued pull shots that hit the roof of the stadium at fine-leg. But if you find yourself batting and ending up in unorthodox positions after being outsmarted by the bowler, watch this six hit by Sharma for inspiration!
— Rohit Sharma-MI (@Rajvikrm098765) April 28, 2018
The Mumbai skipper had barely settled down at the crease when he put a confident stride forward against Shane Watson's slower delivery and was completely befuddled by the lack of pace. Unmoved, Sharma went through with the shot over mid-off, taking one hand off the bat and sending the ball soaring over the ropes. There are well-timed shots, exceptionally timed shots and then this!