Pandey vs Pandya

When life gives you a second chance, you give it your best shot. But what happens when you’ve run out of fuel just before you reach the destination? Sunrisers Hyderabad know.
Pandya gets the job done; Image Source: Times of India

Pandya gets the job done; Image Source: Times of India

When the going gets tough, the tough get going was an adage that had so far summarised Mumbai Indians’ 2019 campaign. After the horrors of the previous year, the team they had constructed was pretty much among the best T20 outfits that had ever been assembled.

Sunrisers Hyderabad after a brilliant 2018 in which they fell just one step short of their second title, had so far paled in comparison. Most of the blame fell down on their batting- if their openers failed, their chances at scoring runs were more or less done for. Performances from their middle-order batsmen came too few and far in between.

That’s why with 41 needed from the last three overs, Manish Pandey and Mohd Nabi on the crease and with Bumrah in charge of bowling one of them, the result of the match seemed like it was a foregone conclusion. But this was Wankhede. A batsmen’s paradise and a bowler’s graveyard, nothing was impossible here.

Earlier in the match, Mumbai had been cuffed by the Sunrisers bowlers to just 162 runs at their home ground. While it was far better than the horror show of last year, nobody thought it to be enough.

With their playoff hopes on the line, SRH had bowled out of their skin. Khaleel Ahmed was the wrecker-in-chief. He began his spell by taking Rohit Sharma out to put the brakes on a brisk start, then outwitted Suryakumar Yadav to prevent MI’s innings from taking off and then sent Pollard back in the last over to provide their innings with some turbulence right at the end.

Without the services of their openers Warner and Bairtstow, SRH looked set to make a mess of the chase. To nobody’s surprise, that’s what happened. As soon as Saha got out in the 4th over after elevating their run rate to 10 runs per over, the brakes on their innings came out in full force.

In the next 10, SRH scored just 65 more and lost 4 more wickets to end up at 105; MI looked set to lock their playoff spot. 41 were required from 18 and Manish Pandey was on the crease, having just brought up his half-century.

Slowly, the tide began to change. Malinga gaveaway 12 runs in his over, as did Bumrah. 17 runs were still big enough a cushion for Hardik Pandya to fall back on- and he started off well. Two singles from the first ball left Nabi and Pandey a steep hill to climb.

Two balls later, Pandey was left alone on his own after Nabi had gone trying. 9 needed from 2. The next ball went for two which made a result for SRH virtually impossible. It was a tie or die and Manish Pandey knew it. In a crucial moment, Pandya bowled a length ball into Pandey’s arc who gladly obliged to hit it for a six.

SRH had just been handed a lifeline. Unfortunately, they couldn’t make it count, turning a new lease of life into delaying the inevitable. Bumrah’s brilliance was too much for their batsmen and within just 4 balls, Bumrah wrapped up the super over.

Now Pandya had a shot at redemption and unlike SRH, he took it with both hands. Up against Rashid Khan (the bowler with one of the best economy rates all over the world), it took him just 3 balls to chase down the 9 runs that were needed. Mumbai Indians’ victory march continued in the playoffs and as for the Sunrisers, they had to wait a bit longer.

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