Published: April 17, 2020 10:06:16 am
Rohit Sharma produced a knock that rescued Mumbai Indians (MI) from an early collapse and silenced the critics of the MI skipper with a 52-ball 94 against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in IPL 2018 on this day.
Put into bat, MI made a horrific start, losing Suryakumar Yadav (0) and Ishan Kishan (0) off the first two balls from Umesh Yadav. First up on the agenda for Rohit, as he made his way out at No. 4, was to see off the hat-trick ball. He did so and then built a partnership with Evin Lewis that helped MI recover from 0/2 to 213/6, their highest score of the season.
Rohit and Lewis put on 108 runs in 66 balls for the third wicket. Lewis was out in the 12th over, after which the home team skipper took over, staying almost till the end.
Virat Kohli scored a belligerent 92 in the chase that followed, but clinical bowling by MI gave them a comfortable victory. Incidentally, this was the first time in T20 cricket that both captains scored 90s in the same match.
The Indian Express match report for the IPL 2018 clash between MI and RCB says Rohit Sharma had been struggling for form till this match, having managed only a total of 44 runs in three innings. It says, “Rohit’s position in the Mumbai batting order always remains a major bone of contention season after season. Strangely too, considering he’s always looked the most comfortable at the top of the order in white ball cricket ever since he made the move up. So walking out to bat within the first three balls of the innings perhaps was the best thing that could have happened to him here. It meant he could get his eye in – and that one fluent boundary through the off-side that he so yearns for early in his innings – and then just build from there. And build he did.”
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It further says, “The RCB bowling was all over the place. It lacked discipline and incision. Way too often, they missed their length and, as a result, played into Rohit’s hands. He took 30 balls for his first 40 runs. And then he exploded. The thing with Rohit’s batting at the death is that he doesn’t showboat much. His destruction in the death overs isn’t based around moving around the crease and getting the bowler to second-guess. It’s, in a way, similar to how the likes of Gayle and Lewis shape up more or less throughout their innings, with a strong base and the conviction that they can hit any ball that lands in their area. That’s pressure enough to contend with for the bowler. He came within one boundary of yet another IPL ton. But his 96 took Mumbai to 213/6, a total that was always going to be a beyond RCB’s reach despite their batting might.”
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