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IPL 2018: Mumbai Indians fight fire with fire

Rohit Sharma and Evin Lewis show takes Mumbai past 200 after two wickets in opening over.

Published: 18th April 2018 05:31 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th April 2018 10:34 AM   |  A+A-

Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma hit 94 off 52 balls against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Tuesday. (AP)

Express News Service

MUMBAI:  Evin Lewis left the Wankhede Stadium awestruck after the shock of two wickets in first two balls. The Mumbai Indians had lost their first three matches in the Indian Premier League so far this season. The fourth began on a disastrous note when, put into bat, the hosts lost Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan on the first two balls. Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Umesh Yadav, one of the fastest bowlers in the country, got the ball to seam just enough on a fresh wicket against batsmen who were yet to find their feet. He first delivery hit the top of the off-stump of Surya. He then got another to sneak through the gap between the bat and pad of Kishan and dislodge the off-stump. But the left-right batting combination of Lewis (65 off 42) and captain Rohit Sharma (94) helped Mumbai Indians not only recover, but answer fire with fire. The home batsmen used the flat Wankhede wicket to their advantage, finishing with 213-6 against Bangalore on Tuesday evening.

Lewis is a talent new to the Indian Premier League, but not so much to the Indian cricket fans. The 26-year-old from Trinidad has scored both of his T20 international centuries against India — the first off 48 balls in a match in the USA and the second a whirlwind 125 not out, which was the highest score during a chase. And he was in particularly destructive mood against Bangalore. As is the case with the West Indians in the IPL, Lewis went about his business with minimum fuss and maximum flair. The southpaw swings the bat freely, and the ball flew off the stick when he connected, and sometimes even when he didn’t. Three of his five sixes sailed into the second tier of stadium.

The West Indian’s fearsome hitting helped Mumbai wrest control of the match right after the first over: which had read a sorry three for two. It also gave Rohit the time and space to sort out his play. The Mumbai captain has struggled so far this season, scoring only 44 runs in the first three matches. But, on Tuesday, with his team in deep trouble when he walked in, he made his wicket, and his knock, count. One of the most prolific batsmen in the tournament, the experienced right-hander paced his innings perfectly to push the Mumbai total over 200. Unlike the previous game against Delhi Daredevils, where Mumbai faltered at the end, Rohit ensured that they kept the pace.

In the end, he had made 94 off 52 balls (10x4, 5x6), at a better scoring rate than Lewis. He was one hit away from a hundred, but attempting that with two balls to go, ended up striking the ball straight to Chris Woakes off Corey Anderson. As for Royal Challengers, the inconsistencies in their bowling once again came to the fore. Apart from Umesh, whose first two overs went for only nine runs, and Mohammed Siraj, all of their bowlers were taken for more than 10 runs an over. As if Mumbai’s searing scoring rate was not enough, the visitors also ended up giving away 16 wides, which meant several extra deliveries for an in-form batting unit. deepti@newindianexpress.com



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