Flop show leads to Hyderabad's sunset
C-syndrome hits Sunrisers
Sunrisers Hyderabad had just one South African in their ranks, but barring him, the others in the team choked. Even before the game began, both teams knew jolly well that the winner would not only make it to the play-offs but finish second in the group stage, thus getting an additional opportunity to make it to the final.
While the Mumbai Indians came out all guns blazing, the Sunrisers just didn't turn up. When your No. 11 batsman, Dale Steyn, ends up being the second-highest individual scorer, it speaks volumes about your batting effort. When you end up getting bowled out for 113 in 20 overs, that too after electing to bat, you cannot put the blame on the bowling unit for having failed to defend it. Steyn came out in the field all fired up, and had Parthiv Patel clueless against his trademark full-length bowling. Even if Parthiv had managed to nick one of those, the total was too hard to defend anyway.
David-Dhawan flop show
Just like the popular Hindi film director David Dhawan's blockbuster hits in the 1990s, David Warner and Shikhar Dhawan had fired for the entire tournament. In fact, till Moises Henriques and Eoin Morgan came to the party late into the tournament, Sunrisers' was considered to be a two-man batting unit. But when it mattered the most, the duo faltered.
All those fifty-plus opening partnerships, including 130 against Kolkata Knight Riders, came to nought as both the left-handers perished off successive balls, courtesy a trademark Lasith Malinga toecrusher and a Mitchell McClenaghan short ball. It was only the second time the Sunrisers' opening partnership didn't reach double-digits this year. Moreover, it was the first time in the tournament that both Warner and Dhawan, with a combined tally of 10 fifties in IPL 2015, were dismissed in single digits. Once the reliable pair flopped, the Sunrisers never recovered.
Mumbai new-ball duo rises to the occasion
Jagadeesha Suchith may have took the zip off the Sunrisers' middle order with wickets off successive deliveries, but it was the unusual two-in-two up front by Mumbai Indians' reliable new-ball pair that set the tone for the match.
Malinga and McClenaghan saw the backs of Dhawan and Warner off the sixth and seventh balls of the match, respectively. The pair continued their charge, cleaning up half of Sunrisers' batsmen cheaply. While the Sunrisers' star pair failed, it was the Mumbai Indians' best bowlers, who came into the match with a combined series haul of 28 wickets, that raised the bar when it mattered the most. Once the two Ms rose to the occasion, Sunrisers' sunset was imminent.
Mumbai hits a six
Even when the home team was reeling at 93 for 9 to start the penultimate over, the emcee at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, in an attempt to get the crowd involved, yelled "We want…." The obvious response of a sellout crowd was "sixer". Well, the whole match saw just four sixes being hit, including a solitary hit by Ashish Reddy for the home team, but the Mumbai Indians completed a unique six.
Once Parthiv and Lendl Simmons had ensured their bowling unit's exceptional work was not going to waste by getting off to a quickfire start, it was clear that Mumbai Indians would enter the last four for the sixth consecutive time. The feat is bettered only by Chennai Super Kings, their opponents in Tuesday's qualifier, who have made the cut in each of the eight IPL editions.
Not much to cheer for the crowd
For the second time in three nights, the stadium was chock-a-block minutes into the first innings. This was a first in Hyderabad, which seldom sees full houses for IPL games. More than their home team's stupendous form, it was their opponents who were the crowd pullers. While the Royal Challengers Bangalore's famous triumvirate of Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers meant Friday's game was a sellout a fortnight before the game, Sunday's match had the attraction of having a glimpse of Sachin Tendulkar. So what if he was going to be present only in the visitors' dugout.
While the crowd got plenty of sighters of Tendulkar, they couldn't really get anything more that they had wished. Forget about a close finish, they didn't even see enough fours and sixes. Once the game that was billed as the last and the best of the group stage turned out to be a lop-sided affair, the spectators started leaving as early as the fifth over into the Mumbai Indians chase.
Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo