Dhawan continues to be the Capitals’ premier batsman, guiding the tricky chase with a 42-ball 45
Delhi Capitals 138 for 4 (Dhawan 45, Smith 33, Pollard 1-9) beat Mumbai Indians 137 for 9 (Rohit 44, Mishra 4-24, Avesh 2-15) by six wickets
Amit Mishra fizzed and whizzed the ball with the skill of old, as the Delhi Capitals shook off their history of defeats to the Mumbai Indians to record a six-wicket win on a tough pitch in Chennai.
Mishra had given up ten runs in his opening over, the last of the powerplay, but then came back to break the game open and tear through Mumbai’s big-hitting line-up. He took out a free-flowing Rohit Sharma and Hardik Pandya in his second over, came back to outfox Kieron Pollard with a googly, and in his final over, bowled Ishan Kishan with a yorker. Mishra’s 4 for 24 was the best bowling figures for a Capitals bowler against Mumbai in IPL history, and he ran rings around a line-up that had been 67 for 1, going at nearly ten per over.
Mumbai eventually ended with just 137 for 9, with Mishra’s strikes ensuring the Capitals stifled the defending champions.
Shikhar Dhawan then rode some good fortune and a large helping of good form to steer the chase. He fell with the game still balanced, but Mumbai didn’t have enough on the board to apply the squeeze like they had done in previous low-total defences in Chennai, and the Capitals didn’t choke at the final hurdle.
Rohit starts with a bang
Both sides had loaded up on spin keeping the conditions in mind, and the Capitals sprung a further surprise by opening the bowling with Marcus Stoinis and R Ashwin, a move that seemed to succeed initially. But in Ashwin’s second over, with Quinton de Kock having already fallen, Sharma took flight. There was a slog-swept four and a one-handed six over extra cover, and Kagiso Rabada was greeted with an imperiously disdainful straight drive over the bowler’s head. Suryakumar Yadav was matching Sharma shot for shot at that stage, but was caught behind off Avesh Khan for a 15-ball 24. However, Mumbai still seemed steadily on course with Sharma in great ball-striking form.
Mishra breaks the game open
Two balls into his second over, Mishra had already given up 16 runs. But he would go on to give up just eight more runs in his entire spell, and it began with Sharma’s wicket. Spotting Sharma advancing down the track, he hung the ball further away from off, slowing it up too, and for once, Sharma didn’t get the timing on his drive right. Two balls later, Pandya attempted to whack his first ball over long-on, and the fielder there was in business for the second time in the over as Mumbai went from strong to uncertain.
Mishra wasn’t done yet, and in his third over, he pitched a googly on the perfect length for Pollard’s back-foot play, getting it to turn into the batter sharply to strike him plumb in front. From looking like they could target anything in the region of 180, Mumbai found themselves 84 for 6 in 12 overs, struggling to survive the full innings.
Dhawan guides the chase
In the last two years, Dhawan has become one of the IPL’s best openers – best batters, in fact – and has done it by scoring heavily and quickly. In this game, he showed he could adapt too, and went into the pre-2019 Dhawan mode. Given the small target, a tough pitch and a great attack to contend with, Dhawan’s was the right approach to keep the Capitals steady. He had a bit of good fortune when the last ball of the first over popped up off a leading edge, and Pandya at short cover launched himself horizontally forward to seemingly pluck the ball with his fingertips. It was one of those did-it-touch-the-ground-did-it-not catches that, when rendered in 2D television images, mostly turn out unfavourably for the fielder. The third umpire was called on and ruled that Dhawan was not out. He went on to have steady partnerships with No. 3 Steven Smith and the promoted No. 4 Lalit Yadav.
The dew didn’t make life easy for Mumbai’s bowlers, with visible evidence of how wet it was making the ball. Pollard, captaining the side in the field with Sharma off it, pleaded for a ball change and finally got it. Rahul Chahar began to make the ball spit up from a length, and with the required rate creeping ever so slightly up, Dhawan decided to attack. He did hit Chahar for a six and a four, but fell in that same over when going for another boundary, caught at deep square-leg.
Capitals complete home stretch
Dhawan’s wicket left things a tad uncertain, but with the dew around in fairly heavy quantities and the target within reach, all the Capitals needed to do was knock the ball around. They still had a bit of a jitter when Rishabh Pant fell to Jasprit Bumrah, but Lalit stuck around while Shimron Hetmyer played the kind of cameo required to soothe nerves and seal victory.
Saurabh Somani is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo