x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Mumbai clinical in the chase to overcome Hyderabad

The Mumbai Indians have gotten off to a slow start this season in the IPL but Monday night they kept themselves afloat with a lopsided seven-wicket victory against Sunrisers Hyderabad.

A 68 off 46 balls earned Ambati Rayudu man-of-the-match honors for Mumbai in their seven-wicket win over Hyderabad. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
A 68 off 46 balls earned Ambati Rayudu man-of-the-match honors for Mumbai in their seven-wicket win over Hyderabad. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

The Mumbai Indians, defending champions in the Indian Premier League, on Monday night kept themselves afloat with a lopsided seven-wicket victory against Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium, where Hyderabad was beaten once last season.

Mumbai’s batsmen came good one more time after Aaron Finch and David Warner had steered the home side to 157 for three. Turbo-charged by Lendl Simmons and Ambati Rayudu in reply, Mumbai also benefited handsomely from one of the more forgettable outings by a side that prides itself on its bowling might.

With Simmons and Rayudu both smashing half-centuries during a second-wicket stand of 130 in just 87 deliveries, Mumbai hurtled to 160 for three, winning with eight deliveries to spare.

Hyderabad would have believed at the break that they had a decent chance. The track was not exactly conducive to batting, the versatile bowling attack and the fact that the highest successful chase last season at this venue was 131 gave hope to Hyderabad.

That belief took deeper root when Bhuvneshwar Kumar had Chidhambaram Gautam caught at mid-off in the second over to leave Mumbai on two for one, but that was about all the joy Hyderabad experienced.

Rayudu was busy throughout, but Simmons was slow to find his bearings, barely able to lay bat to ball when Bhuvneshwar and Dale Steyn were swinging liberally.

As if waiting for Irfan Pathan to arrive at the bowling crease, Simmons switched gears effortlessly. The strong West Indian smashed two legside sixes that sandwiched a powerful blast through mid-off to get on the bike, speeding away until he moved far too across his stumps and was bowled round his legs by Bhuvneshwar. By then, he and Rayudu had destroyed the erratic Hyderabad bowling.

Their third win from nine matches hauled Mumbai to sixth in the standings, one place below Hyderabad, who will hope their next three matches, all at home, are more fruitful than Monday’s misadventure.

The Hyderabad innings revolved around their two Australian top-order batsmen, with Finch calling the shots early on and Warner providing the final push.

Finch had begun with a flurry of boundaries, but even he lost his timing after bringing up his fifty, off 41 deliveries. He took a further 21 deliveries for his last 18 runs, put off his game by the craft of the Mumbai bowlers in the middle overs.

Warner picked off the odd boundary to make up for Finch going off the boil, dominating the third-wicket stand of 63 in which Finch’s contribution was a laboured 22. Some lusty hitting in the final two overs ensured Hyderabad’s bowlers had something to bowl with.

R Kaushik is a senior editor for Wisden India. Visit wisdenindia.com or follow them on Twitter @WisdenIndia.

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