As Lalit and Axar walked off unbeaten on 48 off 38 and 38 off 17 respectively after completing a heist, MI skipper Rohit Sharma wore a bemused and shell-shocked look. MI haven’t won their opening match of the season since 2012.
As it happened | Scorecard | Points Table
After Capitals captain Rishabh Pant sent MI in to bat after winning the toss, Ishan batted all 20 overs screaming to the world he is worth all of Rs 15.25 cr Mumbai Indians spent on him. Every run of his unbeaten 48-ball 81-run knock had authority, maturity and flamboyance written all over it as MI posted 177/5.
The Brabourne pitch had pace and true bounce for the batters to swing through the line. Yet, for most part of the match, Ishan looked like he was the only batter from either team to really get the measure of the pitch. His stay at the crease raised stock as one of India’s most potent T20 opening options.
WHAT. A. CHASE. 🔥🔥@DelhiCapitals register their first victory of the season in style!Scorecard -… https://t.co/5cPphpsnks
— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) 1648389479000
Just the wrist-spinners looked like to be in the game. It could be gauged by the fact how easily Capitals took Jasprit Bumrah out of the game, taking 43 runs off his 3.2 overs. If Kuldeep Yadav, playing an IPL game after two years, brought Capitals back in the game with the wickets of Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard and Anmolpreet Singh to return figures of 3/18 from his four overs, MI’s mystery spinner Murugan Ashwin derailed Capitals’ chase as he sped through his four overs with figures of 2/14.
Capitals two power-hitting X-factors – Pant and Rovman Powell – couldn’t get into the game, both falling in the deep off the second ball they faced. All that mattered for little when Axar joined a young Lalit who was struggling to find timing for the first 25 balls of his innings.
For his wonderful show with the ball, Kuldeep Yadav is the Player of the match 👌👌Well bowled @imkuldeep18 🙌… https://t.co/3cXAe75Vd2
— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) 1648390992000
Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting and captain Pant have been harping on building a team culture where helping each other is the core. Axar, now an integral part of Capitals’ leadership group, showed what they actually meant. Coming in at No. 8, he took the onus on himself by getting stuck into the MI attack from the word go. His flailing bat crunched pacers Daniel Sams, Basil Thampi and Bumrah with consummate ease. The on-side boundary from long-on to deep square leg was peppered as the pressure eased off Lalit who displayed his potential for the first time in IPL by creaming the ball through the off-side.
The team culture has catapulted Capitals as one of the stronger forces in IPL over the last three years. With Kuldeep rediscovering his rhythm and Capitals putting up an imposing show with just two overseas players available, this is an ominous sign for other teams as the likes of David Warner, Mitch Marsh, Mustafizur Rahman and Anrich Nortje are yet to join the party.