Rayudu, bowlers lead Mumbai to dominant win
Mumbai Indians 178 for 4 (Rayudu 59, Rohit 49, Blizzard 37) beat Delhi Daredevils 146 (Hopes 55, Rao 37, Malinga 2-18, Harbhajan 2-24, Munaf 2-29) by 32 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
How they were out
Mumbai Indians played like the dominant side they have been this IPL, and Delhi Daredevils like the middling one they have been. Consequently Mumbai took another step towards qualification for the next round, Delhi towards elimination.
Except for a period of four overs where Mumbai lost two wickets for 17 runs, they bossed the whole game. Aiden Blizzard teased headline writers with seven boundaries off Morne Morkel's first two overs, and then Ambati Rayudu and Rohit Sharma absorbed the shock of two quick wickets to follow it up with an assault that got Mumbai 67 off the last six overs.
On a flat and quick pitch, with short boundaries, 178 was still not beyond Virender Sehwag and David Warner. Not against Mumbai, though, whose big three with the ball - Lasith Malinga, Harbhajan Singh and Munaf Patel - killed the game in three overs. Harbhajan got Warner with a straighter one, Colin Ingram had no clue about a Malinga yorker, and Munaf got a top edge from Sehwag first ball. It left Delhi too steep a climb, although an 87-run stand between half-centurion James Hopes and Venugopal Rao meant sure all time-outs were utilised.
The first innings had got off to a similarly emphatic start for Mumbai. Blizzard took to the pace and the regulation length from Morkel, who has troubled a few Indian batsmen with pace and bounce. To Blizzard, though the faster they came, the faster they went. One of the seven boundaries was a cut from in front of leg stump. A defeated Morkel found time for a bemused smile even as the total reached 50 in five overs.
Irfan Pathan, though, found swing, and with a wicket-maiden brought Delhi back. Shahbaz Nadeem added to Sachin Tendulkar's wicket when he removed Blizzard with one that skidded on. This was a time when things could have easily gone wrong for Mumbai, but Rayudu and Rohit batted sensibly. It was Rayudu who took lead in both rebuilding and in attacking once he was in.
Rayudu began pushing Delhi out of the contest in the 10th over when he targeted James Hopes. He moved across the stumps, and waited with a high back lift. He got a length ball from Hopes, and pulled it over short fine leg. It didn't make for pleasant viewing, but Rayudu immediately balanced it aesthetically with a proper drive through extra cover next over. Two overs later, Ajit Agarkar served him a leg-stump half-volley, which Rayudu flicked out of Agarkar's home ground.
Rayudu's hitting rubbed onto Rohit, who lofted Morkel and Hopes for lovely straight sixes. Morkel found a semblance of redemption with Rohit's wicket in the 17th over, Agarkar with a last over to Kieron Pollard and Andrew Symonds that went for just five. In between, though, Rayudu punished Delhi some more. He didn't go hell for leather, instead he placed his shots well and hit Nadeem and Hopes for a six and three fours. From 30 off 26 he had gone to 59 off 39. Malinga, Harbhajan and Munaf soon told him he had done enough.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo