It was always going to be a test of the batting fire-power between the two sides. Going into the game, the stadium at Sharjah averaged 15 sixes per innings in three matches.
In the end, Sunrisers’ batting line-up could not match the hitting prowess of batsmen in MI’s line-up who are tailor-made for the venue.
At one point, Mumbai seemed they will fail to cross 200 but Krunal Pandya ensured that a side crossed the double-hundred mark at Sharjah for seventh consecutive innings. Under the pump with limited opportunities with the bat and question marks over his place, he hit 20 runs off the four balls he faced.
Things did not start for SRH on a positive note. After stretching his groin in the penultimate match of the last game, Bhuvneshwar Kumar failed to recover in time. While he was a forced change, the inclusion of Siddarth Kaul in place of Khaleel Ahmed proved costly. He could not turn up in his first match of the season, was off target and ended up leaking 64 runs in his four overs that included the dreaded last over against Krunal.
The only positive for SRH in this game was David Warner being among the runs again. They were in the game while he was around but it went downhill after he fell for a 44-ball 60 in the 16th over.
De Kock-Kishan partnership guide MI
Opting to bat first, MI did not start well. While hitting 12 boundaries, they managed to lose two wickets inside the Powerplay, both on balls that were far from threatening.
Sandeep Sharma, in for Bhuvi, started well with his typical in-swinging deliveries. Rohit Sharma chased the last ball of and toe-edged it to the keeper. While the on-field umpire failed to recognise it, a successful review cut-short Rohit's stay at the crease.
After an impressive first over, where the bowl swung, it was surprising that Warner did not opt to continue with Sandeep. SRH paid the price. Kaul bowled the third over and was wayward right away.
Getting a feast to enjoy at his pads, Quinton de Kock clipped him for a boundary. The same line proved to be too wide for Suryakumar Yadav who hit him for two fours on the offside. Compensating on the fifth ball of the over, Kaul bowled a half volley at Surya's body who creamed it past mid-on for the fourth boundary in the over.
As it happens when the batsman is going extra hard to capitalize a weaker bowler, a loose ball costs them their wicket. To an easy-paced ball outside his leg stump, Surya threw his bat in an attempt to hit it out of the stadium. All he managed was a thick edge that could not clear fine-leg.
Joined by Ishan Kishan, the two left-handers targeted the leg side scoring around 90% 78-run partnership on that side. Before this game, de Kock was struggling at the top of the order. Only Murali Vijay and Sunil Narine were averaging less than his 12 among openers with a minimum four innings so far. He got lucky twice in the two overs after the Powerplay.
Manish Pandey is one of the best fielders in the country, but the Indian fielders have not been at their usual self so far in this tournament. A slog sweep from de Kock off Abdul Samad teased Pandey at long-on but, he failed to grab the ball and tipped it over the boundary.
In the next over by Rashid Khan, de Kock attempted a reverse sweep. While he missed the ball, it almost rolled back on his stumps. Capitalising in the Samad's next over, he thumped him for a six and a four on the leg side.
With two left-handers at the crease, Warner did not bring his left-arm spinner, Abhishek Sharma into the attack. Instead, he attempted an experiment with Kane Williamson, who bowled only his second over in 44 IPL matches.
The plan worked as the Kiwi skipper bowled a decent seven-run over. However, the de Kock - Ishan Kishan pair did not let him get away on the next attempt as both hit him for a six down the ground in his second over.
After reaching his half-century with the six off Williamson, de Kock took a toll off Kaul who bowled his third over that went for runs in double digits.
Up until then, Rashid had bowled two overs at a run a ball. He finally got a wicket against his name after de Kock skied an attempted pull off a googly.
Pandey redeemed himself
Kishan has been one of the rare batsman to dominate leg-spin, having strike-rate of above 169 against them. He did not care even if it was a bowler as gifted as Rashid and slog-swept him on the ball after the wicket for a six.
A superlative effort from Pandey cut short Kishan’s innings. Running from a wide long-on, Pandey ran in to grab a straight hit from Kishan. Realising that he might not reach in time, Pandey threw himself for a dive and caught the ball with both hands.
Strong finish for Mumbai
Kieron Pollard and Hardik are MI’s destroyers-in-chief in the death overs. However, they started the phase with an uncharacteristic display of defensive batting. As a part of a clear plan while facing the last over of Rashid's spell, the 16th of the innings, they played him out for just two runs.
Natarajan and Sandeep then executed their yorkers well but a few ended up being full tosses to give MI 38 runs in the next three overs. It was acceptable given the venue and the quality of batsmen at the crease.
After three poor overs, Kaul seemed set for a comeback after he bowled Hardik with an accurate yorker off the second ball in the last over. However, a pumped-up Krunal spoilt any chance of his comeback and smoked him for two four and two sixes in four balls to ensure MI finished on a high.
SRH’s meek reply
Chasing a record target, SRH started their innings on a scratchy note. Warner was slow to get off the blocks scoring only six runs in his first 10 balls.
Being the aggressor, Jonny Bairstow started with a six off Trent Boult over mid-off in the first over. In the next over from James Pattinson, he came down the track to pull him for a four and tickled the next to four to fine-leg.
MI introduced spin as early as the third over. Starting with Krunal who gave away only two runs in his first four balls. But, he committed an error, dropping the bowl short next which Bairstow pulled for a six with disdain.
Boult dismissed the threatening Bairstow in the fifth over after he pulled a slow bouncer straight to deep square leg. Pandey looked in good touch right from the get-go. He caressed Boult for two boundaries to start with.
He timed Jasprit Bumrah for another four in the next over after Warner had welcomed him with back-to-back boundaries to get going himself.
In the over 7-15, SRH scored 83 runs and started to fall behind in the match.
Taking catches in the outfield continued to be tough for Indian cricketers. Usually one of the safest catchers, Hardik managed to hold onto Bairstow’s chance earlier despite misjudging it. However, he could not adapt to the sun in his eye and failed to hold a catch of Pandey off an upper-cut.
Both Pandey and Warner launched into Rahul Chahar straightaway as they hit him for a six each down the ground in his first over.
Up until that point, Pandey played a breezy knock, focussing more in timing than power. But, just as SRH were looking comfortable, he had a rush of blood. In an attempt to collect a six, he mistimed a loft that failed to clear the fielder at long-off.
Despite shorter boundaries and Warner at the crease, Krunal gave away only 11 runs in his first two overs. However, a set Warner hurt his figures by hitting him for a six and a four in his next over.
Rohit then opted to contain the momentum and brought on Bumrah who bowled an impressive six-run over. Keeping choke on, Boult bowled the next over and dismissed his national skipper off a slower ball.
Krunal capped off a good day with the ball after having Priyam Garg caught at the deep square leg boundary in the 15th over.
Warner’s dismissal in the next over all but ended the game for SRH. Getting a thick outside edge off a wide slower ball from Pattinson, Warner attempted a slash. Diving to his right, Kishan grabbed onto a superb catch at short third-man.
Needing 14 runs per over at the start of the death-overs, SRH managed to score 32 runs in the next 22 balls after Warner's dismissal. Lacking batsmen with proven credentials of being-hitters, it was about reducing the margin of defeat. Samad did throw around his bat and hit Bumrah for a four and two sixes but it wasn't enough.
In the end, MI's pace troika and Krunal Pandya – who executed nine yorkers, the most by any bowler on the day - ensured that the 209-run target was out of SRH's reach.