Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers Hyderabad played out an edge of the seat thriller at Wankhede on Thursday with the game going down to the Super Over after Manish Pandey slammed a six off Hardik Pandya to level scores off the final ball. Opting to bat first, Mumbai Indians made 162, a total that seemed enough until Pandey and Mohammad Nabi went berserk in the final few overs.
Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya then took Mumbai Indians into the playoffs with crucial cameos in the Super Over. Here are some of the key moments from the match:
Mumbai goes against the trend, opt to bat first
In 50 matches this IPL, only seven times has the captain winning the toss opted to bat first. Reasons for this can be attributed primarily to the dew factor in most grounds in night matches. Rohit Sharma was adamant that even if dew did play a role, his bowlers would be up to the task.
"We are aware of the dew factor. But we have bowled well in those situations. It's a fresh pitch and looks like it will play well," Rohit had said at the toss.
What puts his decision firmly in the bold category is that at Wankhede, teams have always preferred chasing. The last time a skipper won the toss and opted to bat at Wankhede in the IPL was back in 2017. But perhaps, Rohit was more into what has worked for Mumbai this season. In the seven matches they batted first this season, Mumbai have won five games. The decision to bat first on Thursday nearly cost Mumbai as they bowled costly full tosses in the final couple of overs.
Rohit loses battle against Khaleel
Rohit was off to a flying start at Wankhede against Sunrisers Hyderabad. The Mumbai Indians skipper took on Khaleel Ahmed after scoring two boundaries in the opening over off Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Rohit slammed the left-arm seamer twice through the off-side for four before powering a pull shot wide off mid-on. Having conceded three boundaries in the over, Khaleel was taken off the attack.
He came back with one over left in the Powerplays and straightaway came around the wicket at Rohit. Off the second delivery, Khaleel surprised the Mumbai opener with a sharp bumper outside off-stump from around the wicket. Though he went for a half-hearted pull shot, Rohit wasn't on top of the ball and it ballooned to mid-on, where an easy catch was pouched. Khaleel went on to grab his fourth three-wicket haul in the season.
Abhishek Sharma takes a neat, low catch
He has had little to do this season but when given a chance to impress, Abhishek Sharma ensured he did little wrong. Mumbai Indians were looking for a clinical finish from their big-hitter, Kieron Pollard, after Hardik was undone by Bhuvneshwar's bouncer. Having thumped a six off Rashid Khan earlier in the innings, Pollard was on 10 off eight balls heading into the final over.
Khaleel went for a slower bumper that deceived Pollard, who went for a swivelled pull shot without really timing well. The ball was dying on the deep backward square-leg fielder, Abhishek, but the 18 year old rushed in, dove forward and completed a superb catch to give Khaleel his third wicket.
When Pollard failed with his football skills but aced the high jump
Pollard is known for his brilliant athleticism near the boundary ropes but on Thursday at the Wankhede, the crowd bore witness to some of his skills in other sports. In the fourth over of the run-chase, Bumrah bowled a back of a length delivery at Saha and the wicket-keeper batsman played a pull shot with little timing.
The ball raced to the mid-wicket boundary with Pollard giving the chase from wide mid-on position. The West Indian reached the ball in time but instead of sliding and stopping, decided to do a bit of footwork. He tried to stop the ball with his foot but could only manage to ricochet it from its original path. As the ball went for four, Pollard lost his balance and went past the ropes to nearly collide with the hoardings. He, however, jumped cleanly over it and fell on the other side of the hoardings without hurting himself.
Manish Pandey, Mohammad Nabi take on Mumbai's death overs veterans
Chasing down targets against Mumbai Indians takes some doing. With Bumrah and Malinga manning the death overs, teams struggle to bring the required run rate down and often fall short. Mumbai had won five out of seven games before this in which they batted first, justifying this theory. So, when Sunrisers needed 48 in the last four overs to win with Bumrah having two overs left, the equation seemed well in favour of Mumbai.
But Manish Pandey and Mohammad Nabi had other ideas. Aided by dew, the two remained calm despite a soaring required run rate and ticked off one boundary per over. Nabi hit Malinga for a four and a six in the 18th over and after playing out four singles in the penultimate over, Pandey hit Bumrah for back to back boundaries off full tosses in the final over.
With 17 needed and Hardik bowling, Nabi hit a six before being dismissed. A couple of runs off the second last ball brought the equation down to seven off one delivery. A composed Pandey then deposited Pandya's length ball into the stands over long-on to enforce a Super Over.
The Super Over
Having enforced a Super Over with some outrageous batting in the death, Sunrisers assigned Pandey and Nabi the task of tackling Bumrah in the one over face-off.
Sunrisers lose too many wickets
Super Overs are tricky because if you lose two wickets, you are bowled out. But that does not mean you can look to preserve wickets either. The visitors lost Pandey in the first ball of the Super Over to a run-out from the deep and even though Nabi helped them to eight with a pull shot for six off Bumrah, he was bowled by a yorker next ball. Shot out for 8, Rashid Khan was tasked with helping them defend the score.
Pandya seals it with a six first ball
Mumbai Indians had little to do in terms of decision-making in the Super Over. Bumrah was a no-brainer with the ball as was Pandya and Pollard opening in the chase. Needing nine to win, Pandya tonked a six off the first ball from Rashid to bring the equation down to three from five balls. He then took a single to give strike to his partner, Pollard. The West Indian calmly took a couple next ball to seal a win for Mumbai.