Quinton de Kock was back amongst the runs with a sizzling 39-ball 67 before the bowlers did a commendable job in batsmen friendly Sharjah to power Mumbai Indians to a clinical 34-run win over Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League here on Sunday.
The swashbuckling duo of Hardika Pandya (28) and Kieron Pollard (25 not out) scored at their usual brisk pace but it was Krunal who propelled MI to 208 for five with 20 runs off a mere four deliveries in the last over.
Then, the MI bowlers did just enough to restrict SRH to 174 for seven.
Chasing 209, a formidable target even on the small Sharjah ground, SRH began with Jonny Bairstow sending Trent Boult’s third delivery into the stands. Two fours and a six followed before Boult had the Englishman for a 15-ball 25.
David Warner (60 off 44 balls) got into the act with a couple of boundaries off Jasprit Bumrah. Manish Pandey had raced to 16 when Hardik Pandya dropped a sitter, his view blocked by the evening sun.
Pandey lofted Rahul Chahar over long-on for a massive six and Warner followed suit, hitting the leg-spinner for another maximum in the same over as SRH kept pace with the required run-rate.
The prolific Australian then cut his compatriot James Pattinson through the point region before smashing Krunal for a six and four to help SRH past the 100-run mark in the 11th over.
Attempting an upper cut against Boult, Kane Williamson was out caught by Quinton de Kock, after Bumrah bowled an excellent six-run over.
Last match hero Priyam Garg failed to replicate his performance but it was the big wicket of Warner, in the 16th over bowled by Pattinson, that almost sealed the game in MI’s favour even as the required rate soared past 14 runs an over.
For MI, there were two wickets apiece for Boult (2/28), Pattinson (2/29) and Bumrah (2/41).
Earlier, Rohit Sharma plonked Sandeep Sharma over mid-wicket for a six to start the proceedings but the MI skipper was out caught behind the very next ball as he chased a wide delivery, only to nick it to Jonny Bairstow.
The on-field umpire Richard Illingworth was not convinced by Sandeep’s loud appeal but the review went in favour of his team.
Suryakumar struck six boundaries, including a couple of pleasing drives, in his 18-ball 27 before being dismissed by Siddarth Kaul, who played his first game of the season. Kaul leaked as many as 64 runs in his four overs.
At the other end, de Kock worked the ball around nicely in between playing the big shots, as Mumbai Indians maintained a healthy run rate.
After 10 overs, MI were 91 for two with de Kock looking in fine touch.
Playing in place of the injured Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sandeep had done more than what was expected of him in his first two overs, sending back the in-from Rohit early.
But MI have enough firepower in their batting lineup and recovered from the early blow with de Kock leading the charge.
However, the seasoned South African, who reached his half century with a six straight over the bowler’s head, got out after Rashid Khan took a fine running catch off his own bowling to signal the arrival of Hardik.
Pandya would have been dismissed cheaply but David Warner could not hold on to a difficult chance at the boundary.
Manish Pandey, who had spilled one earlier in the day, made up for that with a sensational catch to send back Ishan Kishan for a 23-ball 31.
Pollard and Hardik then did what they do best even though the likes of T Natarajan bowled quite a few yorkers.