The Mumbai Indians (MI) were in a position to tee off in the 12th over, with their successful batting pair of Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan at the crease. In just one over, Shahbaz Nadeem prised out Suryakumar and new man Krunal Pandya, as the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) spinners began to snag the MI middle order in their web to turn the game on its head.
Batting first, MI skipper Rohit Sharma made headlines after returning to action despite a BCCI-issued report regarding the threat of aggravating his injury. Though he was unable to make any further headlines due to a low score, MI's in-form trio of Quinton de Kock, Suryakumar and Kishan all got starts.
The problem was that none of them capitalised to make a big score. Lean outings for Krunal and Saurabh Tiwary left it all down to Kieron Pollard, who smashed a few in his 25-ball 41 to give the score some respectability.
It was one-way traffic in the second innings in a game SRH dominated through and through. Wriddhiman Saha continued his good run at the top in place of Jonny Bairstow, while SRH skipper David Warner was the aggressor of the two. There were no hiccups as the duo finished off an alarmingly clinical win with nearly 3 overs to spare.
The win for SRH ensured all of MI, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Capitals enter the playoff stage with low morales in contrast to SRH, who secured thumping wins to barge their way in. In a disappointing but eventually irrelevant loss for the table-toppers, here are the top three underperformers.
#3 James Pattinson (MI)
For someone deemed to be a hitter, Pattinson's returns with the bat would count as a disappointment, as his 4 off 5 hardly allowed MI to finish well after Pollard's dismissal. It was with the ball, however, that Pattinson exhibited his biggest downturn.
The trend across the tournament in the back half has been that of quick bowlers struggling unless they have great control and variations. Pattinson seems to have fallen on the other side, as he looked toothless against the SRH openers despite once forging a remarkable bowling partnership with Trent Boult in the powerplay. His 0/29 in three overs did no favours to his team in a morale-sapping loss.
#2 Rohit Sharma (MI)
MI skipper Rohit Sharma walked out from under a cloud of injury expecting beams of sunshine, although SRH ensured it continued to rain on his parade. Rohit was tied down by the opening bowlers before losing his patience against Sandeep Sharma and charging down the track. Unfortunately, he could only hit the slower delivery into the hands of a gleeful mid-off fielder.
Rohit was lucky that his 4 off 7 didn't lead to significant inroads for SRH as De Kock and the uncapped Indian duo held their own for a bit. Coming in place of an extra bowler, Rohit had the added responsibility of scoring enough to justify a reduction in bowling resources, which he was unable to do. As captain in the field, he could just stand and watch as his return to captaincy was a miserable one.
#1 Krunal Pandya (MI)
One of MI's seasoned campaigners over the last five years, Krunal Pandya has endured easily his poorest season, save for a magical turnaround in the playoffs.
Just 95 runs and 5 wickets from the league stage speaks on one hand of how little his skills have been needed given MI's in-form batsmen and bowlers, but on the other hand of how he has been unable to provide anything of note in close games for MI whenever they have taken place.
In this game, Krunal's contribution with the bat lasted for three balls, as he woefully miscued a shot against Nadeem to leave his team four wickets down from an initial position of strength. With the ball in hand, his day got only worse as his 3.1 overs were taken for 37 runs. He also had the misfortune of bowling the ball on which SRH scored the winning runs, ending a hapless performance for him and MI.