Rohit Sharma was happy to finish what Aiden Blizzard and Ambati Rayudu started as his brisk knock of 49 set Mumbai up for an insurmountable total in Saturday’s Indian Premier League clash with the Delhi Daredevils.
While Australian recruit Blizzard’s 23-ball 37 was superb and Indian talent Rayudu’s 59 from 39 deliveries very effective, the duo’s efforts needed a proverbial cherry on the top, which Sharma duly delivered.
The in-form right-hander cranked two fours and a trio of handsome sixes en route to 49 from 32 balls as the hosts landed a formidable total of 178 for four at the Wankhede Stadium.
In reply, Delhi initially floundered at every turn to fall to seven for four inside three overs. James Hopes’ 55 and Venugopal Rao’s 37 rescued the visiting team, to an extent, before seamer Kieron Pollard (two for 24) skittled the tail to have the Daredevils all out for 146.
“I struggled initially. But I knew that if I stayed in I could make runs. My gameplan was always to go and assess the situation and the wicket and how the bowler was bowling. After that I decided which bowler to target and what to do. That’s what I did here,” said Rohit, who took a particular liking to seamer Hopes’ errant length.
“It has been up and down for me so far. Whatever limited opportunity I have got, I think I have done reasonably well. A dew matches here and there didn’t go my way. But, I have been hitting the ball well. I just want to keep going.”
Delhi’s pursuit of a tough target was made all the more tougher when captain Virender Sehwag, who earlier in the tournament blazed a whirlwind century against the Deccan Chargers, fell for just two runs.
“Everyone knows how dangerous a player Sehwag is. The way he batted against Deccan, he was in a good form. So, getting his wicket early was important for us. We had planned how to bowl to him and we did accordingly and were successful,” added Rohit.
Rayudu bagged the Man of the Match award for his half-century and is now the third-highest run-scorer of the 2011 IPL with 349 runs across 10 knocks at an average of 38.77 and 119.52 strike-rate.
“Rayudu is a very talented batsman and has been doing well. He is very fearless. It doesn’t matter whether you have lost a wicket up front, he just goes and plays his game and that’s every important. Very few players can do that. He is one of them,” concluded Sharma.
Defeated captain Sehwag was left to rue a disappointing all-round performance from his side.
“We didn’t play well. Our batting was not clicking and when the batting was clicking our bowling was not clicking. So, as a team we are not playing well. So, I cant blame anything else,” lamented Sehwag.
Meanwhile, Mumbai fast bowler Lasith Malinga has been fined for breaching the IPL Code of Conduct.
Malinga pleaded guilty to a Level 1 offence after he bowled to high full tosses, deemed to be dangerous to the batsmen, during Delhi’s turn at the crease.
As a result, match referee Roshan Mahanama imposed a penalty of five percent of the player’s match fee. Cricket365