x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Indian Premier League: Delhi fail to scale Mumbai peak after cameos from Karthik and Sharma

Indians post the highest total of the tournament to go top on the table and hand a third consecutive loss to the Daredevils.

A file picture of Rohit Sharma, who provided one of the two mainstays to Mumbai Indians' huge score. Tom Shaw / Getty Images
A file picture of Rohit Sharma, who provided one of the two mainstays to Mumbai Indians' huge score. Tom Shaw / Getty Images

Toss Mumbai, chose to bat

Mumbai Karthik 86, Sharma 74, Rayudu 24; Nehra 2-49

Delhi Warner 61, Muneja 49; Ojha 2-34, Johnson 2-49

Man of the match Dinesh Karthik (Mumbai)

Dinesh Karthik rescued Mumbai Indians from a potential batting crisis with a powerful half-century, helping Mumbai recover from a horrific start to claim a 44-run win, in the process sending Delhi Daredevils hurtling to a third consecutive loss in the Indian Premier League.

Rohit Sharma, who scored 74, proved an able ally to Karthik as Delhi were buried under a mountain of 209 runs, the highest total in the tournament so far, at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai last night.

Opting to bat, Mumbai lost their openers within the first two overs. Ricky Ponting, the captain, fell to Irfan Pathan, before Sachin Tendulkar was run out, leaving Mumbai at 1 for the loss of two wickets.

It was then that Karthik stepped up and blasted away, demoralising Delhi with each shot.

Delhi constantly rotated their pace bowlers after the early wickets, attempting to make more inroads into the Mumbai batting.

But Karthik batted sensibly, making the most of a poor Ashish Nehra over, claiming 16 runs off it. He never looked back. Nehra kept bowling short, and Karthik kept pulling him to fine-leg.

Mumbai raced past the 50-run mark before Karthik reached his own half-century in just 29 balls.

Mahela Jayawardene, the Delhi captain, brought on his spinners, Shahbaz Nadeem and Jeevan Mendis, but not much changed in the script as Karthik and Rohit went on to pile up 132 runs for the third wicket.

Morne Morkel finally put Karthik’s knock to an end with a delivery that appeared to swing late to catch the bottom-edge and end up in Mendis’s hands at cover.

But even after Karthik fell, with the scoreboard reading 133 for four, there was no respite.

Sharma took charge in the final few overs, with Kieron Pollard (13) first and then Ambati Rayudu (24) ensuring the attack remained relentless from both ends of the wicket.

Mumbai added 76 runs in 32 balls courtesy some big hits, including three sixes in the final over.

Delhi got off to a miserable start, losing Unmukt Chand off the first ball of the innings, Ponting pulling off a remarkable one-handed catch at extra cover, despite having gone the other way, initially.

Jayawardene departed not too long thereafter, leaving Delhi struggling at 13 for two.

David Warner and Manprit Juneja led the fightback. The two put up 82 runs for the third wicket as Warner imposed himself on the bowlers, scoring with ease on both sides of the wicket even as Juneja excelled in the supporting role.

However, having reached his half-century, Warner fell to Mitchell Johnson. Warner first took consecutive boundaries off Johnson, but was deceived by a slower ball and lifted it to the offside, where Rayudu took a comfortable catch. Mendis, the new man, did not last long as the bowling became restrictive.

With runs drying up, Pathan attempted to lift Pragyan Ojha over the ropes, but could only gift a catch to Johnson.

At that point, Delhi needed 84 runs in 30 balls – a task which proved beyond them, the 20 overs running out with Delhi still 44 behind Mumbai’s total.

Manoj Narayan is a subeditor at Wisden India.