Lucknow Super Giants 168 for 6 (Rahul 103*, Pollard 2-8, Meredith 2-40) beat Mumbai Indians 132 for 8 (Rohit 39, Tilak 38, Krunal 3-19) by 36 runs
For some time it looked like Super Giants had swapped their shirts with Mumbai. The hosts’ bowlers had turned up with a performance we had barely seen in the tournament so far and the Super Giants batters were barely able to score. Rohit bravely gave the second over to rookie Hrithik Shokeen, whose flat offbreaks conceded just four runs, Jasprit Bumrah dismissed Quinton de Kock for 10 on the very next ball after seeing him get a life at deep backward square leg, and Riley Meredith and Jaydev Unadkat stifled Rahul and the No. 3 Manish Pandey.
If not for the back-to-back fours that Rahul crunched in the third over off Daniel Sams, Super Giants may not even have reached the 32 for 1 that they did at the end of the field restrictions.
Rahul’s stellar form vs Mumbai continues
Single-handedly, he lifted the run rate over six after the powerplay. Single-handedly, he kept picking boundaries to not let the run rate drop below seven, even though wickets fell around him. And single-handedly, he chaperoned his team to a competitive total.
Super Giants’ biggest over was the 13th, bowled by Sams, which saw two sixes from Rahul and five wides as well, but Sams also got the big wicket of Stoinis with a slower one.
Krunal fell two balls later when Rohit slipped in two quiet overs of Pollard’s cutters but Rahul was unfazed. From 126 for 5 after 16 overs, he went after Bumrah again by waiting deep in the crease for the yorkers, collecting two fours, one over point and the other through cover.
Bumrah bowled an impeccable 19th over, hitting the blockhole consistently, but Rahul collected three fours back-to-back off Unadkat to race to 94 and then belted Meredith for two sixes in the last over for his 61-ball century, which was his second of the season, third against Mumbai and fourth in all IPL cricket.
He finished unbeaten on 103, being in control for 85% of his shots and even though he had to score over 61% of Super Giants’ runs on his own, it eventually proved to be enough.
ESPNcricinfo’s predictor gave Mumbai a near 50% chance of chasing down 169. But Ishan Kishan unusually defended his way to 3 off 12 and eventually fell for 8 off 20 when he bottom-edged Ravi Bishnoi to de Kock’s boot and the ball lobbed to Holder at slip.
Rohit did the bulk of the scoring early on and took Mumbai to a steady 43 for 0 after the powerplay but they slipped suddenly as Dewald Brevis found third man off left-arm quick Mohsin Khan for 3 and his captain paid the price for a wild slog sweep against Krunal.
That brought Suryakumar Yadav and Tilak Varma together with the score at 58 for 3. Two overs later, Rahul gave the ball to Badoni who had never bowled in a T20 before. The offspinner’s second ball brought him the big wicket of Suryakumar, who mistimed a whip to cover and neither Rahul, who took the catch, nor the Wankhede crowd could believe what had unfolded.
Pollard and Tilak stitched a stand of 57 in which Tilak took on Bishnoi for big sixes and Holder for back-to-back fours but once he mistimed Holder to deep midwicket, Mumbai’s chances fell further.They needed 44 from 12, Pollard was on a run-a-ball 17, and Dushmantha Chameera’s 19th over full of wide yorkers for just five runs pretty much sealed the match.
Vishal Dikshit is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo