The Mumbai Indians cemented their place on the top of the IPL log with a comprehensive 32-run victory over the Delhi Daredevils on Saturday.
Sachin Tendulkar’s men proved that at times there is not just a gap in class between teams in the IPL, but rather a gaping chasm as Mumbai dominated the encounter from start to finish.
It was the skipper, together with opening partner Aiden Blizzard who began the rout, putting on 50 for the first wicket at a rate of nearly ten an over, having been put in to bat.
With Tendulkar (14) and Blizzard (37) dismissed in quick succession, it appeared that the Daredevils may have began to wrestle back the initiative. However, Ambati Rayudu (59) and Rohit Sharma (49) added 87 for the third wicket to put the home side back on track.
Both men fell near the death, but they had done their job, with the Indians posting a daunting total of 178.
If Virender Sehwag’s men were to have any chance of chasing down the target, a strong start was needed; unfortunately for the Daredevils, the opposite occurred.
Harbhajan Singh struck early, catching David Warner (1) lbw with the penultimate delivery of the first over. Debutant Colin Ingram lasted just two balls before he fell foul to a Lasith Malinga yorker.
When Sehwag (2) was dismissed by Munaf Patel in the third over, the game was all but over. Naman Ohja’s dismissal four balls later only confirmed this.
To their credit, the Daredevils didn’t go down without a fight as Venugopal Rao and James Hopes pulled Delhi out of the abyss with a partnership of 87 for the fifth wicket.
Rao (37) has impressed on a number of occasions in the current competition, and hit some firm blow in a useful innings.
Hopes personified the brave effort, with his half-century briefly giving Delhi the smallest whiff of a chance. However, when he was run out for 55 after being left stranded by non-striker Irfan Pathan it really was over.
Yogesh Nagar immediately followed Hopes back to the pavilion, caught trying to hammer his first ball out the park, and from there on in it was only a matter of time before Mumbai sealed their eighth victory.
The win secures Mumbai’s place in the semi-final, while the Daredevils can no longer qualify for the play-offs. Cricket365