Mishra’s dream spell paves the way for Capitals to get the best of five-time champions

The Delhi Capitals were cruising at one stage. But the Mumbai Indians’ never-say-die attitude took the game to the final over. Shikhar Dhawan and Rishabh Pant left in quick succession to make things tense for Capitals, but Jasprit Bumrah bowled two nil balls to release the pressure. MI also had just 137 runs on the board, and Shimron Hetmyer and Lalit Yadav held their nerve to secure a six-wicket victory with five balls remaining.

The capitals victory was even more commendable for this was their first game in Chennai. The conditions were difficult, something MI got used to, as this was their fourth game in Chepauk. But Capitals were the better team on the night.

Mishra rolls back the years

In favorable conditions, Amit Mishra can still spin a web. At 38, international cricket has probably been avoided, but on a ‘gripping’ face, his leg spinner showed his worth. This was only Mishra’s second match in this year’s IPL and he made a notable contribution.

Rohit Sharma took some time to get into the groove but once he settled down, the MI captain played like a prince.

A loft drive inside at six off Kagiso Rabada was spectacular. Pant hurriedly brought Mishra, inside the Powerplay, to stop the running flow.

He started off by surrendering four backups to Suryakumar Yadav. But when Mishra came back for his second spell, the chase of his dreams began. Rohit jumped out of his grease, but the bowler still had his leg broken slightly. The batter had to reach for the ball and ski it to Steve Smith in the long run.

A couple of balls later, a similar distribution accounted for Hardik Pandya. The entire rounder went through his shot, but the wily leggie was knocked in the air.

Plumber Kieron Pollard caught googly in front of him. Mishra didn’t give the batters any speed to play with and he turned the ball. Suddenly, MI were 84/6 after 12 overs with their batting cream back in the gut.

Scores of about 150 have proved to be equal in this setting, which the defending champions had successfully defended.

On Tuesday, however, Mishra took all the big hit and pioneers of MI to block their death push. Ishan Kishan played smart, built a partnership with Jayant Yadav and set himself up nicely for a backwards slogan. But he fell prey to Mishra’s speed variation – a faster delivery that nearly fouled him. The left-hander knocked his bat down and played the ball on his sticks. The veteran spinner finished with 4/24 four overs.

Before that, at the start of the inning, two champion cricketers canceled each other out. The honors were even between Rohit and Ravichandran Ashwin until the former stood up and delivered a lovely six over extra cover to a carrot ball.

Capitals hold their nerve

Dhawan survived a marginal decision at four, in the very first game after the Capitals hunt. Hardik had pulled a stunner dive forward but the TV referee ruled that the ball had touched the ground. Against a modest total, the Capitals needed to avoid falling. A second 53 run wicket stand between Dhawan (45) and Smith (33) laid the groundwork for their victory. The first stayed until the 15th over to ensure there was no middle tide.