Capitals at the Kotla: P4 L3 T1
Delhi Capitals were second on the IPL 2019 points table before Thursday night, and that's despite their record at home, which now reads: Played 4, Lost 3, Tied 1. It is the tournament's worst win-loss ratio at home after the bottom-placed Royal Challengers' Bangalore, who have lost all their games.
The Kotla pitch has been a mystery over the years, and Capitals' coach Ricky Ponting has admitted how visiting sides like Sunrisers Hyderabad and Chennai Super Kings have made use of the conditions much better than they could.
Once again, Capitals were out-thought by the visiting side, who seemed to read conditions better from the get-go. Rohit Sharma won the toss, opted to bat first for the first time this season (and only the second time since 2018), a "good move" which left home captain Shreyas Iyer "surprised".
Rohit mentioned how their "struggle to chase 160 " last time as the reason for his decision to set a target. They also picked a fingerspinner in Jayant Yadav to take on Capitals' left-hander-laden batting order.
Mumbai, though, had thought through their plans down to the last detail. Mahela Jayawardene, their coach, said in a chat with Star Sports, the host broadcaster, that "conditions dictate" plans and selections, and "we use different guys in different scenarios". They shuffled their batting and bowling line-ups, throwing in Ben Cutting at No.3, Hardik and Rahul Chahar to open the bowling, and at one point, made five bowling changes in five overs to turn the game on its head. Some of them failed, but they always had back-up plans, adapting on the go and eventually sealing a convincing win.
What's the deal with Mumbai holding Pollard back?
On what looked like a tricky Kotla pitch, Mumbai Indians got to 168 for 5, thanks to Hardik Pandya's manic acceleration in the final overs once again. A look down their scorecard, though, and you'll spot an odd stat at the bottom.
Kieron Pollard 0* (0 balls)
For the second consecutive game, Pollard finished unbeaten, without facing a ball, having walked into bat with three balls remaining. Why one of T20 cricket's most prolific strikers has gotten to bat so few balls for Mumbai, has been a question for a while now.
This season, though, Hardik's brilliance has put Mumbai at the top of the run-scoring charts in the final overs. They've scored at 12.66 runs an over in the last four overs, powered in large part by Hardik's astounding rate of 15.12, only behind Andre Russell among batsmen who've faced 50-plus balls. Hardik's consistency and Pollard's night out against Kings XI Punjab - the one time Hardik failed - have meant Mumbai haven't borne the brunt of holding their biggest hitter back.
And more often than not, their long-standing belief in left hand-right hand combinations has meant Krunal Pandya has batted ahead of Pollard. Krunal has blown hot and cold with the bat so far, but on Thursday night, his 37 off 26 balls did the job on this track: play out the spinners, consolidate and max out in the final overs.
Jayawardene admitted as much in a chat with the host broadcaster. Having sent Ben Cutting, their third big hitter apart from Pollard and Hardik, up the order with a view to accelerating early, they switched to their back-up plan of rotating the strike and going big at the death after Cutting fell for 2.
Amit Mishra bosses the middle overs but why didn't he complete his quota?
Amit Mishra struck with his first ball - a slow legbreak - to rattle Rohit Sharma's stumps. It was his 150th IPL wicket, and a reminder of his years bowling for the erstwhile Daredevils at the Kotla, which has always had something in it for the slower bowlers.
Mishra was acing the middle overs against Quinton de Kock and Suryakumar Yadav, conceding just two boundaries in his first three overs. With the run rate under control and a new batsman in Krunal Pandya at the crease, Delhi Capitals' captain Shreyas Iyer took Mishra off and brought seamer Keemo Paul back into the attack.
If that was done to hold him back for Kieron Pollard's arrival, it didn't come to pass. Mishra finished with figures of 3-0-18-1, not coming back to bowl his final over. Iyer's use of Mishra has been puzzling at times: against Sunrisers Hyderabad in their last game, he didn't come on to bowl till the 11th over, after the fall of Jonny Bairstow, who has struggled against wristspin this season.
Mishra wasn't the only one to go with an over unbowled - Ishant Sharma didn't came back to bowl his final over, after having gone for 17 off his first three.