Rohit brings Mumbai Indians the thrill

All-star of the match

In the three innings he'd played prior to the game against Royal Challengers Bangalore, Rohit Sharma had been trying to slog right from the first ball. In doing so, he invariably lost his shape and, as a result, his timing too. It resulted in tame dismissals: two top-edged slogs and a simple return catch. He changed his game and turned his form around in some style to get Mumbai Indians' campaign up and running after three successive losses.

Mumbai were two down after just two balls, after they had lost a fourth successive toss, when he walked in. They needed some calm, and Rohit brought that quality to the crease even as Ewin Lewis began a fine counterattack. Rohit later joined in and Mumbai feasted. His 52-ball 94 was a fine cocktail of timing and muscle. It's a different matter that the bowling, particularly at the death, wasn't of particularly high quality.

Bowler after bowler missed his length and Rohit used this to his advantage to bring about the stunning late acceleration that is now an integral part of his batting formula in limited-overs cricket. He was 40 off 30 at the end of the 14th over. Then, he turned to beast mode. The last 22 balls he faced went for 54. By the time he walked off for 94 in the final over, he had hit 10 fours and five sixes. This meant Mumbai, who came into this match with the worst death overs run-rate of all teams this season, ended up with their third-highest IPL total.

The wow moment

Umesh Yadav had got the new ball to move around at pace and taken out Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan with successive deliveries. Now he was starting his second spell, with Mumbai 128 for 3 in 14 overs. His figures at this point read 2-0-8-2. Rohit had been sedate up until then. Now he proceeded to launch into Umesh.

The first ball was a bouncer outside off, and a flat-batted swing sent it into the second tier behind deep square leg. Then, he backed away to go over the off side and Umesh made him reach for it, banging it in well outside off. Rohit extended his arms through a ferocious cut that beat deep point even though he was only a few yards from the ball. That shot brought up his 33rd IPL fifty.

The numbers

  • Rohit, playing for Mumbai, has an average of 59.20 in seven games against RCB at the Wankhede Stadium.

  • He has crossed fifty in four out of those innings and on Tuesday was Man of the Match for the fourth time in five games against RCB at his home ground.

  • With 179 sixes, Rohit is second only to Chris Gayle in IPL history.

  • Rohit strikes at 173.10 after his first 35 balls in T20s. His first-35-ball strike rate is 127.

What they said

"[Discussion over my batting position] has been happening for a while, it's just that me batting at No. 4 gives the team the balance that we want, so that the new guys can bat freely at the top. The past few games, we haven't been able capitalise in the last few overs. That is why we wanted an experienced player to finish off. Opening or batting at No. 4 doesn't matter."
Rohit Sharma on the rationale behind batting in the middle order