Mumbai: Unheralded Uttarakhand pacer Akash Madhwal nailed his yorkers consistently at the death as Mumbai Indians restricted Sunrisers Hyderabad to 200 for 5 in their final IPL encounter, here on Sunday.
With one eye on Bengaluru weather where RCB taken on Gujarat Titans, Madhwal’s four-wicket haul ensured that SRH ended with at least 15 short of what could be considered a par-score on a fat Wankhede track.
This was after a century opening stand between seasoned opener Mayank Agarwal (83 off 45 balls) and rookie Vivrant Sharma (69 off 47 balls) threatened to take the game away, in the IPL here on Sunday.
The pair of Agarwal and Vivrant put on the best opening stand for SRH this season, reaching 53/0 after the powerplay without taking any undue risks, and eventually putting on 140 for the seventh-century stand of this IPL.
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Courtesy Madhwal’s 4 for 37, which included two lethal block-hole deliveries to clean up in-form Heinrich Klaasen (18) and Harry Brook (0), SRH managed only 26 in last three overs. For a bowling unit that has allowed contests to drift away, here at the Wankhede Stadium on several occasions, MI made regular inroads to keep SRH within reach.
However, the task is an improbable one for MI as they will have to score 201 in just 11.4 overs, or in 70 balls, to overtake Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Net Run Rate. Playing in his third game this season and for the first time as an opener, the left-handed Vivrant gave a fine example of himself with strokes on both the sides of the wickets.
Vivrant struck seven fours and a six to bring up his maiden IPL half-century in the 10th over, as SRH cruised in the first half of the contest unscathed and unperturbed by MI’s bowlers. Agarwal too ended his drought, hitting a six and a four off Jason Behrendorff in the 13th over to bring up his first fifty of this season, and celebrated with a gesture that batters usually do upon reaching the three-figure mark — taking off the helmet and arms stretched wide.
On a benign pitch with extreme hot and humid conditions, there was also not much that the Mumbai bowlers could do, on what also has been batting-friendly surface here. With no movement or turn off the surface, the MI bowlers had to contend with bowling disciplined line and lengths, and to their credit, they never really allowed the SRH openers to get away.
The first breakthrough came in the 14th over when Madhwal had Vivrat caught at deep mid-wicket, with his 69 off 47 balls (9 fours, 2 sixes) being the highest score since the first IPL for any Indian player in a debut innings. Madhwal continued to use the short ball well and in the 17th over, he had Agarwal caught behind for 83, which came off 46 balls including eight fours and four sixes.