Mumbai v Hyderabad, IPL 2013, Mumbai May 13, 2013

Unfortunate Sunrisers let match slip away

For 36 overs, Sunrisers painstakingly built a position of strength only for one terrible over to spoil it for them

One atrocious over from Thisara Perera. One questionable decision from Cameron White. And eight Kieron Pollard sixes in 16 deliveries. That, unfortunately, was the crux of this game. Unfortunate not because Pollard made a mockery of an asking-rate of 15.50. This is to take nothing away from Pollard's innings, an assault so brutal and so out-of-nowhere it numbed the mind. Unfortunate because it took five ordinary deliveries and one ordinary call to decide a game where both sides had been forced out of their comfort zones, and had fought a tense, undulating contest. Unfortunate because the world's best fast bowler had bowled his guts out. Unfortunate because a young, uncapped legspinner had come back to remove two fine players of spin.

Dale Steyn and Karan Sharma hardly deserved to lose. But this format is crunched so tight that even half a bad over from a bowler can undo all good work done earlier, and subsequently, by his colleagues. Admittedly, this was a seriously bad over. And Pollard was seriously ready to take toll. As ready as a hungry lion is when the prey walks into the den uninvited.

A slow long hop outside off. A full delivery around off. A short ball at normal speed, which at Perera's pace meant it sat up at Pollard. A length ball followed by a length ball followed by a length ball, the last one from round the stumps. 6, 1, 4, 6, 6, 6.

With as many as 62 needed off the last four overs, this was about as poor as you could get as a bowler. Not once in the over did Perera hit the blockhole. Not once did he go wide outside off to deny Pollard his straight hitting zone. Not once did he bounce Pollard with an effort ball, as he did later in the last over, by when the game was finished. Twenty20 puts enormous pressure on bowlers. Perera cracked wide open under it.

So did White, in picking Amit Mishra to bowl the 18th over ahead of Steyn, with 33 required. Steyn had toyed with Pollard in the over before Perera's meltdown. The first ball of Steyn's return spell kicked, straightened and sped past the outside edge. The fifth bounced at the batsman's throat and Pollard fended it awkwardly off the bat handle. Steyn gave just four runs off that over, including a leg-bye. Of the 23 that he conceded overall, there were two boundaries off thick outside edges from Dwayne Smith.

Steyn wanted to win this dearly, as he always wants to. He sprinted all the way to square leg to stop a second run off his bowling, and ran so hard he beat the wicketkeeper to the ball comfortably. Even after hitting Perera for four successive boundaries, there was little chance of Pollard going after Steyn, and succeeding.

At the very least, Steyn was more likely than a legspinner to contain Pollard in the 18th over. And Mishra is your conventional legbreak bowler. He is no Piyush Chawla to be able to dish out an over of quick darts. Instead, he tried to induce a false stroke from a charged-up Pollard with a flighted legbreak. Six. Mishra tried again. Six more. Game over.

To Pollard's credit, he connected with almost everything with only five specialist bowlers to come after him. And even when he mishit it, he smacked it deep into the crowd. Maybe a tight 18th over from Steyn would have given Mishra more chances of inducing that false stroke from Pollard in the 19th.

Instead, as Steyn tore in to bowl a testing penultimate over, the sheer futility of the situation matched the sheer intensity of his effort. It had started to look slightly futile for Sunrisers Hyderabad when Sachin Tendulkar and Dinesh Karthik had a partnership in Mumbai Indians' first chase at home this season. Tendulkar retired hurt after hitting Karan for a six and a four. And did the legspinner barge into the opening. Two deliveries later, he had Karthik popping a leading edge to extra cover. In his next over, he had Ambati Rayudu stumped after the batsman missed a flipper on the charge.

For 36 overs, Sunrisers painstakingly built a position of strength. Their batsmen, used to modest chases set up by the bowlers, posted a big total. Their attack made it increasingly difficult for Mumbai Indians for more than three-fourths of the chase, only to have it snatched away after one mediocre over. Unfortunately, that is how T20 often works.

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sreeny on May 15, 2013, 18:18 GMT

    SRH should give the Captaincy to Sammy, he much much better captain than White and Sanga.

  • Dummy4 on May 15, 2013, 5:23 GMT

    Great Innings from Pollard. Brutal I must say. When Player Like Watson, Miller and Pollard on fire every Team needs 4 Dale Steyn to stop them. Steyn's Economy Rate is 6. 41 in IPL with 73 Wickets in 66 Matches. That's absolutely amazing from a fast bowler point of view. T-20 is a game where a Batsman Single handedly can change the game but a bowler cannot. That's what we all saw in many matches and SRH Vs. MI was the best example of this where Steyn won the bettle as always but SRH lost the game. White should have gone for Sammy and not Parera for sure. Sammy had 2 overs left with almost 7RPO. Parera was too high for the situation.

  • Dummy4 on May 15, 2013, 0:57 GMT

    Even after perera went for 29, the SRH still had enough to defend to win but mishra also went for 20 runs. Have any other teams allowed 50+ runs in 2 overs either at start or end of a match? Steyn bowled his heart out & fielding in past couple of games were great to see as he put in so much effort. I really wish SRH would try to bowl more yorkers, you hardly even see 1 attempted. Too many length & width balls. We couldve been in great position to make the playoffs with a win against MI & we were in the drivers seat most of the match till last 4 overs. With RCB losing today we still have a good chance, if rcb lose their next match & we win 1 of 2 then we will make semis. If RCB win then we will have to win both as the NRR current is .500 below RCB. Go SRH go, batting has showed it can put up good score & bowling hass been good entire tournament & we were in the game till 16th over. Just 1 improvement, had sammy/perera/white bat ahead of vihari. Hes like pujara, not scoring fast enough.

  • Dummy4 on May 14, 2013, 22:21 GMT

    Author's observation of Amit Mishra and Piyush Chawla are spot-on. Mishra might be good on slow pitches but looks like the new improved Chawla would be better suited for flat or seaming tracks. Chawla could be the 3rd spinner in India squad after Ashwin as off-spinner and Jadeja as left-arm spinner.

  • Srinivas on May 14, 2013, 19:53 GMT

    This IPL has been mediocrity after mediocrity by the Lankans - Sanga, Mahela, that mathews guy, this thisara guy one after the other..... just useless. I don't claim some of the Indian bowlers as world class and so I'm not surprised that our Indian bowlers get tonked all over the park. But lankan fans claim that their 'allrounders' are world class and when they get tonked all over the park, it is bad captaincy by White but not a word against their over-hyped 'world-class' 'allrounder'. Dear lankan fans, how is it bad captaincy to let your 'world-class' 'allrounder' bowl? You can't have it both ways. It is either bad captaincy to let a club-level lankan bowl or it is good captaincy to let a 'world-class' lankan bowl. Pick one! Thankfully, Dravid got rid-off Kushal at an early stage of the tournament. Othewise RR would have been out of the play-offs by now. Get rid-off the lankan mediocrity from IPL. And now Murali put RCB in a very critical situation! Shame!

  • Dummy4 on May 14, 2013, 18:35 GMT

    There is no room for emotions or popular sentiments in professional sports. For Mumbai to improve they have to drop Sachin Tendulkar. This talk about crowds flocking to see Sachin is a hogwash. There was a season when he was injured and did not play a no of matches. There was absolutely no reduction in the crowds. Plus the MI also won the Champions Trophy that year.

  • Dummy4 on May 14, 2013, 18:10 GMT

    MI and Sacin were lucky, Dont worry he door will be opened by CSK or RR very soon.

  • Sai on May 14, 2013, 14:54 GMT

    Dale Steyn, you class act! Oh yeah, guys don't blame one guy after a bad performance. Steyn has been battered and bruised many a time, and we've seen it this IPL as well. It happens to the best of players, but yeah Perera bowled absolute filth in that over. White should've bowled out Mishy and Karan before that, and then given the ball to Steyn. Surely wickets would've fallen and the RRR would be so high even Perera could've defended the score. Any case, I'm impressed by Rohit Sharma and his captaincy.

  • Dummy4 on May 14, 2013, 14:48 GMT

    Cameron White is not as smart as Sanga. He lost the match against CSK the same way by letting Ashish Reddy bowl to the CSK lion Dhoni. SRH should let Sammy lead when they want to rest Sanga. Well, they have only two more chances, and they got a gift today by RCB. Now they must win both the remaining matches or pray for a miracle. Last year CSK had gotten a gift from DC who had beaten RCB. Hope CSK return the favor to the Hyderabad team.

  • aletheia on May 14, 2013, 14:39 GMT

    An eye-opener for SRH. They should and could have added another 20-30 runs easily had they allowed Thisara/Sammy/White to bat up the order as it was a beautiful batting pitch. What was Vihari doing in 19th over ?? No doubt this kid is talented, but the team should understand that from 15-20 overs when you are batting first, its an opportunity for hard hitting batsmen to pile quick runs and more importantly when you have wickets in hand. I am sure, Thisara/Sammy/White/Karan/Mishra/Steyn - all of them could have easily added 20-30 more runs in the last 5 overs together, even at the cost of losing some wickets.Imagine the result of the game if Pollard came to the crease in the 19th over ? SRH did exactly that - denying a chance to many Pollards within their ranks to play before the 19th over. If they continue to promote Vihari and allow him to play beyond 15th over and protect the wickets, no one can help them.

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