Rohit just couldn’t get going in the middle stages – Ponting

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Mumbai Indians coach Ricky Ponting said that his side’s inability to maintain momentum in the middle overs of a 165-run chase against Delhi Daredevils was one of the main factors for their 10-run loss in Delhi.

Mumbai were 52 for 1 at the end of the Powerplay, and a comfortable 98 for 2 in 12 overs with Rohit Sharma and Krunal Pandya at the crease. However, Daredevils’ bowlers, particularly legspinner Amit Mishra, dragged them back and a five-over period between the 13th and 17th overs saw Mumbai score only 25 runs. Ponting felt that Rohit, who eventually scored 65 before his run-out in the last over, struggled to get going in that period.

It felt like we had control of that game for most of the 40 overs. Even with the ball, it didn’t feel like it got away from us at any stage until I guess, the last couple of overs,” Ponting told iplt20.com. “We were well ahead in our batting and in the Powerplay, we were 50-odd, so we were well ahead at that stage, and we had wickets in hand.

“Rohit just couldn’t get going in the middle stages of the innings. From the sidelines it felt like he was a bit deprived of the strike as well and momentum just stopped a little bit. Mishra bowled a great spell and then Morris at the end with his yorkers was very good. I think we went for 17 from our last bowling over as well (Mumbai conceded 16), and these games are decided by small margins. Tonight, we were just a little bit off at crucial times and that probably cost us the game.”

The middle-overs slump left Mumbai needing 32 off the last two overs and 21 off the final one. Rohit struck a six off the second ball of the 20th over, bowled by Chris Morris, but a ball later, a mid-pitch collision with Hardik Pandya resulted in his dismissal and he had to be helped off the field by the team physio. That dismissal sealed Mumbai’s fourth loss in six matches, leaving them in the bottom half of the table.

One positive for Mumbai from the game was another strong performance from Krunal. The allrounder was promoted to No. 4 and cracked a 17-ball 36, which included four fours and two sixes. Playing in his debut IPL season, Krunal has been effective with the bat and his left-arm spin, taking three wickets and scoring 105 runs at a strike rate of 187.5 in three innings. On Saturday, Ponting lauded the allrounder for his fearless approach that forced Daredevils to tweak their tactics.

“He was going well at that stage. I had sent him in to try and attack the legspin and he did that well. It forced Zaheer to bring himself back and an over of [Mohammed] Shami as well. Tactically, it worked well and he’s a fearless young player. The couple of times he’s had an opportunity early in the innings, he’s done really well for us. That [Pandya’s run-out] was costly, but you can never put your finger on one instance in a T20 that cost you the game.”

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