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McClenaghan helps Mumbai stay on top

Wisden India logo Wisden India 22-04-2017

Only a couple of nights after they chased 199 down with 27 balls to spare, Mumbai Indians’ batting line-up was blown to smithereens by the finest pace unit of the tenth edition of the Indian Premier League. Kagiso Rabada, the debutant, Chris Morris, Zaheer Khan and Pat Cummins bowled with serious intent for Delhi Daredevils and silenced the crowd by keeping the home side down to 142 for 8 from 20 overs.

Scorecard: MI vs DD

Mumbai, however, needed just one Mitchell McClenaghan to instigate similar damage as the fired up paceman guided the hosts to a 14-run win on a seam-friendly Wankhede Stadium surface on Saturday (April 22). McClenaghan returned figures of 3 for 24 from his four-over quota and Jasprit Bumrah ended up with 2 for 21 as Mumbai restricted Delhi to 128 for 7. The fact that Delhi came this close to the target is a testament to the steel shown by Chris Morris and Rabada.

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The duo added 91 runs for the seventh wicket after Delhi were reeling at 24 for 6, and brought their side to within 30 runs of the finish line with two overs left. Rabada’s dismissal for 44 in the penultimate over from Bumrah titled the balance in Mumbai’s favour, and even Morris’s 41-ball 52 not out couldn’t stop that shift in momentum as Mumbai held on for their sixth win on the trot, this cementing their place at the top of the points table, Only a few hours earlier, MS Dhoni turned the clock back to lead Rising Pune Supergiant to a thrilling last-ball win over Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Good luck charms of cricketers

Good luck charms of cricketers

Unfortunately for Delhi, there was no who could jump gears like the former Pune skipper. The odds were heavily stacked against Delhi when play started. They had won just two out of five before this game and were still in search of the right combination, while Mumbai had five wins from six matches with a unit that doesn’t seem to need any fixing. If that wasn’t enough, Delhi hadn’t won at the Wankhede since 2011. But Zaheer Khan did win the toss and that was a morale-booster because Mumbai’s only loss came batting first against Pune in their opener.

On Saturday, a fantastic combination of pace and an intelligent use of the slower ball put Delhi in the box seat. Losing Parthiv Patel for eight was a blow but it was the loss of the in-form Jos Buttler that forced them into the pressure pool. Buttler, who was threatening to do what he did against Kings XI Punjab, ran himself out for 28 attempting a non-existent run. Delhi created an opening and pried it wider with every scalp. They were helped in their effort by the shot selections of Nitish Rana and Rohit Sharma, but Mumbai still had Kieron Pollard (28) and the Pandya brothers – Hardik (24) and Krunal (17) – to put away. The trio was watchful but hung around long enough to ensure that there were runs on the board, whose value became immediately apparent when Delhi’s chase began.

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Amit Mishra, the only full-time spinner in the Delhi XI, complemented the fire of the pace unit with an abundance of guile. The leggie returned the best figures for Delhi with 2 for 18 from 4 overs. Cummins took 2 for 20 from 4. Given the calm heads at Delhi’s helm, a drama-free run chase appeared on the cards. That wasn’t to be. Against an attack which has fired sporadically this season, Delhi slipped to 21 for 5 and then 24 for 6 inside the seventh over.

The catalyst for that spiral was an outstanding run out by Hardik to get rid of Aditya Tare, followed by an inspired spell display of left-arm pace from McClenaghan. Aware of the task in hand, Rohit handed McClenaghan the new ball and the left-arm quick bagged a wicket with the second ball of his opening over, sending Sanju Samson back to the hut. Bowling in tandem with Mitchell Johnson, McClenaghan then came up with two wickets in his second over as he blew away Shreyas Iyer and Corey Anderson to own the big stage.

With Rishabh Pant and Karun Nair also falling cheaply, Delhi appeared on a hiding to nothing until Rabada and Morris rallied them with a seventh-wicket stand of 91. But with Bumrah outstanding at the death, that was as good as it got for Delhi.

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