Delhi Capitals continued their dominance at the top on Saturday, beating reigning IPL champions Mumbai Indian by four wickets at Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
Sharma’s men are close to becoming the second team to be eliminated from this season.
The five-time IPL champs put up a 130-run chase that the Capitals chased down with five balls to spare.
MI skipper laments lack of runs
Rohit Sharma admitted that 129/8 was insufficient to start with.
Although, the wicket was not a batting paradise but the score the reigning champs ended up with was not enough to restrict Delhi from a victory.
“We were well prepared and we knew what we had to do. I thought we didn’t bat well enough. We knew it wasn’t a 170-180 wicket, but we knew it was a 140 wicket,” the Hitman said.
“We just didn’t get the partnerships going. If your batters aren’t going to post runs on the board, it will be difficult to win games.”
Kieron Pollard failed in yet another showdown as well.
His and Rohit Sharma’s form slump have been the key factor when it comes down to their consecutive poor outings.
Neither the MI skipper has been able to extend his stay at the wicket with de Kock nor Pollard has been smacking the ball all over the park in the death overs.
Suryakumar Yadav could have taken the innings deeper had Sharma or any other top-order batter stayed with him.
“We’re not able to execute in the middle, which is particularly disappointing. We are not playing to our potential. Hopefully, in the next two games, we play the way we are known for,” Sharma concluded in his post-game interview.
Axar, Avesh deliver the goods
Avesh Khan’s opening spell (3/15) provided Delhi Sharma’s wicket.
Skipper Rishabh Pant lauded Avesh’s contribution.
The right-arm pacer is Delhi’s highest wicket-taker this season (21).
Pant remarked: “Easier for the spinner in these tracks. I held back one over of Ashwin to keep him away from Pollard and Hardik.”
“Avesh is the find of the season for us, but at Delhi Capitals, we learn from our mistakes and pick up.”
After Avesh was put out of the attack, Axar Patel made the ball talk too.
He claimed the next three wickets – Quinton de Kock, Suryakumar Yadav and Saurabh Tiwary.
For his 3/21 and nine runs with the bat, Axar bagged the Man of the Match award.
The all-rounder said that he had to think a step ahead of the MI batters to take wickets in the middle overs.
“I am able to read the batter more easily and can plan better,” he said.
“If I can think about what the batter is doing and deny them the ideal ball, I can be more successful. I think there’s no need to experiment when some of the simple things are working better.”
Anrich Nortje (1/19) continued with his good form as well.
His maiden over seemingly put the MI batters in check.
While he has not been able to take three-wicket hauls or more, the South African speedster has shown a knack for drying up the scoring rate for the opposition.
This forces the rivals to play risky shots later on and throw their wickets away in frustration.
Delhi Capitals 132 for 6 (Iyer 33*, Ashwin 20*, Coulter-Nile 1-19) beat Mumbai Indians 129 for 8 (Suryakumar 33, Avesh 3-15, Axar 3-21) by four wickets.