Ishan Kishan and Tilak Varma half-centuries kept Mumbai in the game, but a poor spell against the spinners made them fall well short in the end
It’s unlikely the two would have been given four overs between them in the last ten overs had this been a night game. The absence of dew meant Sanju Samson could play around with his spinners and hold them back, and he did so superbly by bowling Chahal with the long boundary to the leg side, forcing batters to hit him against the turn.
First, Chahal had Tim David lbw with a slider that fizzed through the deck in the 16th over. Off the next ball, he had Daniel Sams with a fine cocktail of dip and drift. Sams heaved it to the leg side and was caught smartly by a back-pedalling Buttler from midwicket. Chahal nearly had a hat-trick; it wasn’t to be because M Ashwin was put down by wrong-footed Karun Nair at slip. But, by then, the pendulum had swung the Royals’ way.
The Kishan-Varma partnership
Mumbai lost Rohit Sharma and Anmolpreet Singh early, but Kishan and Varma ensured they kept up with the steep asking rate by playing sensibly, especially at the start of their stand. They showed the maturity in knowing they had the games to accelerate later, thereby giving them an opportunity to set up shop.
From time to time, Varma picked the boundaries, and along the way also exhibited some languid stroke-making ability. The one off Navdeep Saini, which he punched on the up to clear long-off, was a stunner.
At the other end, Kishan was at his industrious best. Running hard, using his feet to spin, bringing out calculated hits without being reckless, and in the process, raising a half-century before Varma got there. The pair went on to add 81 off just 54 balls to set Mumbai up before they unravelled quite uncharacteristically.
Buttler fantastic, Buttler tactful
Much before the Royals spinners left their mark, Buttler provided a treat to the 15,000 fans who had turned up on a hot afternoon at the DY Patil Stadium. He was caught by a Jasprit Bumrah toe-crusher early on, but soon found his bearings when he launched into Basil Thampi for three sixes and two fours in the bowler’s only over, inside the powerplay.
Where Bumrah and Tymal Mills hit hard lengths, Thampi went full and was clobbered, as Buttler cleared his front leg and made merry. This forced Rohit to dig deep into his bowling reserves early in the game, and having Pollard cover up the remainder of the overs through the innings.
Buttler was impressive against spin, too. At one point, with deep point set for the reverse, he outfoxed Mumbai by backing away outside leg to loft M Ashwin repeatedly over cover. Then, when deep point was moved to sweeper cover, he brought out the reverse hits.
Full report to follow…
Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo