Not long ago, they said T20 was a youngster’s game. But Amit Mishra, Shikhar Dhawan and Steve Smith underlined the worth of seasoned campaigners as the trio played a vital role in helping Delhi Capitals avenge last year’s IPL loss against Mumbai Indians.
While Mishra spun a web around the Mumbai Indians batsmen on a turner at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai to restrict the defending champion to 137 for nine on Tuesday, Dhawan and Smith batted sensibly to put Capitals’ chase on course.
Despite both batsmen getting dismissed at an inopportune time — Smith plumb in front by Kieron Pollard at the halfway mark and Dhawan getting caught on the square boundary off leggie Rahul Chahar in the 15th over — Lalit Yadav and Shimron Hetmyer saw Capitals home with five balls and six wickets to spare.
Besides the players, credit must be given to the Capitals management for making smart changes for the game against a side which it lost to four times last season. Playing its first match of the season in Chennai,
Capitals read the turner to perfection and brought in Mishra and Hetmyer in place of Lukman Meriwala and Chris Woakes. It turned out to be a masterstroke despite captain Rishabh Pant losing the toss.
When Rohit Sharma got off to a flier — smashing Kagiso Rabada on to the roof for a huge six in the PowerPlay — it looked like he would run away with the game even before the dew would make things tough for the MI bowlers later in the night.
However, Mishra changed the course of the game with three wickets off nine balls. With Quinton de Kock edging to Marcus Stoinis, who opened the bowling, and Suryakumar Yadav snicking behind off Avesh Khan in the seventh over, Rohit had to bat deep.
However, Mishra deceived Rohit and Hardik Pandya with flight and turn in the ninth over, giving Capitals the advantage. The pitch continued to assist the tweakers as Mishra deceived Pollard with a googly and dismissed Ishan Kishan in the 18th over. Jayant Yadav, brought in to combat the left-handers in the Capitals line-up, forced Prithvi Shaw into hitting back to him. But a risk-free 53-run partnership between Dhawan and Smith steadied the ship before the former switched gears in the second half of his innings.
Despite Mumbai Indians’ recent trend of defending modest totals, Hetmyer and Lalit, promoted to No. 4, overcame jittery moments to take Capitals home.
Pollard, the stand-in skipper as Rohit was not on the field for most of the chase, bowled a no-ball to hand a win to Capitals.