Lucknow Super Giants 168 for 6 (Rahul 103*, Pollard 2-8, Meredith 2-40) beat Mumbai Indians 132 for 8 (Rohit 39, Tilak 38, Krunal 3-19) with 36 runs
For a while, it seemed that Super Giants had swapped their shirts with Mumbai. The hosts’ bowlers showed up with a performance that we had barely seen in the tournament so far and the Super Giants’ batters were barely able to score. Rohit bravely handed the second over to rookie Hrithik Shokeen, whose flat offbreaks allowed just four runs, Jasprit Bumrah sent Quinton de Kock for 10 on the next ball after seeing him take a life on a deep back square leg, and Riley Meredith and Jaydev Unadkat suppressed Rahul and the No. 3 Manish Pandey.
Without the back-to-back fours that Rahul crunched over from Daniel Sams in the third over, Super Giants may not even have reached the 32 for 1 they did at the end of the field restrictions.
Rahul’s great form vs Mumbai continues
He single-handedly increased the run rate after the power play to over six. On his own, he kept pushing boundaries to keep the run rate from dropping below seven, even as wickets fell around him. And on his own, he guided his team to a competitive total.
The biggest over from Super Giants was the 13th, bowled by Sams, who also saw two sixes from Rahul and five walks, but Sams also got the big wicket from Stoinis with a slower one.
Krunal fell two balls later when Rohit slid into two silent overs from Pollard’s cutters, but Rahul was unfazed. From 126 to 5 after 16 overs, he went after Bumrah again by waiting deep in the crease for the Yorkers, collecting two fours, one over point and the other through cover.
Bumrah threw an impeccable 19th over and consistently hit the blockhole, but Rahul collected three fours in a row from Unadkat to race to 94, then won Meredith for two sixes in the last over for his 61-ball century, which was his second of the season, third against Mumbai and fourth in all IPL cricket.
He finished undefeated at 103, had 85% of his shots under control and although he single-handedly had to score more than 61% of the Super Giants’ runs, it turned out to be enough in the end.
ESPNcricinfo’s forecaster gave Mumbai a nearly 50% chance of chasing 169. But Ishan Kishan defended unusually to 3 out of 12 and eventually fell for 8 out of 20 when he tossed Ravi Bishnoi from below to the Kocks boot and lobed the ball to Holder before slipping.
Rohit scored early and brought Mumbai to a stable 43 for 0 after the power play but she suddenly slipped when Dewald Brevis found the third man of the speedy Mohsin Khan with the left arm for 3 and his captain paid the price for a wild slog swipe against Krunal.
That put Suryakumar Yadav and Tilak Varma together with the score at 58 for 3. Two overs later, Rahul handed the ball to Badoni, who had never bowled in a T20 before. The offspinner’s second ball brought him the big wicket of Suryakumar, who mistimed a whip to cover and neither Rahul, who took the catch nor the crowd of Wankhede could believe what had happened.
Pollard and Tilak made it to 57 with Tilak taking on Bishnoi for big sixs and Holder for back-to-back fours, but once he mis-timed Holder to deep midwicket, Mumbai’s chances plummeted further. They needed 44 of 12, Pollard was 17 on a run-a-ball, and Dushmantha Chameera’s 19th over full wide yorkers for just five runs pretty much sealed the game.
Vishal Dikshit is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo