Mumbai made it three wins in three against Delhi this Indian T20 League season by defeating Shreyas Iyer's team by 57 runs in the first Qualifier on Thursday to book their place in the final for the third time in four years.

The defending champions dominated the games right from the outset despite losing their captain Rohit Sharma early in the game. Riding on the back of two 50+ runs partnerships, Mumbai posted 200/5 on board and a sensational bowling effort from Jasprit Bumrah (14/4) and Trent Boult (9/2) guided Mumbai to a comfortable victory.

A game that was held at Mumbai's way for a majority of time had plenty of things to talk about.

Rohit Sharma’s form ringing alarm bells at Mumbai 

The Mumbai captain was dismissed on a golden duck on Thursday - his first since May 2018 - meaning that he now has the most ducks in Indian T20 League history alongside Harbhajan Singh and Parthiv Patel. Sharma’s form has certainly been alarming given that he has registered six single-digit scores this season, and Mumbai just cannot afford to take it lightly especially at this stage of the tournament. While dropping a captain can be a grinding statement, the hierarchy needs to take into account how Ishan Kishan coped after being promoted up in the order. 

A breakdown in figures of Rohit Sharma, Quinton de Kock and Ishan Kishan outline further conflict as the skipper has averaged a mere 19.57 in the Powerplay overs this season, scoring 137 runs in 11 innings while being dismissed a whopping seven times. Ishan Kishan, who has played two fewer innings than the captain during this phase, has scored 136 runs at an average of 136. Kishan, in fact, is averaging 100 while opening (four innings), but the figures drop subsequently to 40.14 at No. 4. Not exactly a poor return, per se, but the numbers speak for themselves. 

Mumbai players in Powerplay in 2020
Player Innings Runs Balls Dismissals Dot Balls 4s 6s Average St. Rate Balls per boundary
Rohit Sharma 11 137 124 7 69 14 7 19.57 110.48 5.9
Ishan Kishan 9 136 114 1 56 19 4 136 119.29 4.95
Q. de Kock 15 289 210 7 87 31 10 41.28 137.61 5.12

Is it time for Mumbai to reconsider?

Bowling units on a different spectrum

Quick recap:

1: Wickets taken by Delhi pacers on the night.

6: Wickets taken by Mumbai pacers on the night.

Amongst the pacer who bowled more than two overs for Delhi, Kagiso Rabada turned out to be the most economical one, ending his night with a lowly figure of 10.50. The likes of Anrich Nortje and Daniel Sams, on the other hand, went for 12.50 and 11.00 respectively. The three men, in fact, combined for just one wicket and seemed to have run out of ideas, allowing the Mumbai batsmen to pick their lines quite early on. It is safe to say that Nortje’s obdurate approach of constantly delivering short-pitch bowls gave Mumbai a helping hand in one way or another.

In the 16th over, the South African was hit for 18 runs. In the final over, his reluctancy of bowling through the stumps to Hardik Pandya was punished by 20 runs, meaning that the 26-year-old gave away 50 runs on the night - a whopping 25 percent of Mumbai’s total.

Contrary to Delhi’s return though, Mumbai struck in the very first over, dismissing Prithvi Shaw and Ajinkya Rahane, restricting them from opening the account. On came Bumrah after Trent Boult’s carnage and it was three-for-none in no time. The pacers’ effort of combining for four wickets in the Powerplay overs was duly rewarded as Delhi managed a mere 32 runs during the phase. Delhi did manage to climb the impossible ladder during the middle overs, with Marcus Stoinis and Axar Patel combining for 71 runs, but the Australian simply had no answers to Bumrah's trickery, who dismissed him in the very first ball upon returning in the 16th over.

Prithvi Shaw needs a fix

179: Runs scored by Prithvi Shaw in his first five games.

26: Runs scored by the 20-year-old in his last five outings.

A duck on Thursday means Prithvi Shaw has now been dismissed without opening his account on three occasions this season; joint highest alongside Shikhar Dhawan, Dinesh Karthik and Nitish Rana. Delhi will get another go at booking their place in the final, but if they are to turn their fortunes against Mumbai, they need to find the lost form of Prithvi Shaw. Opening the batting means he is certain to square off against pacers, against whom he has been utterly inadequate. In fact, this season, 12 of his 15 dismissals have come against pacers while scoring just 122 runs during the entirety of the season.

Openers are tasked to set the momentum and have the luxury of welting during the field restriction and failing at it causes rupture, as we saw tonight. What Delhi needs to do is to let bygones be bygones and work on Shaw’s deficiencies if they are to have a go at the title.

Feature image courtesy: Twitter / @IndianT20League