It was a night that the Mumbai Indians batting finally came to the party. But then so did the rain to wash out the entire innings of the Cape Cobras, who had been set a stiff 177 to get.
With five points from three games, MI have one foot in the semis, while the Cobras with three from three will have to win their final game and then look at the net run rate where they are ahead of MI at the moment. Of course, should MI win their final encounter, they will not have to worry about their run rate.
On the evidence of Friday night’s showing at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, their batting worries too seem to be a thing of the past. Put into bat by Cobras skipper Justin Kemp, MI spurred on by a stirring debut by 23-year-old opener Sarul Kanwar, got their batting together.
That they did so against the Cobras, one of the better bowling sides in the tournament, made it even sweeter. Powered by a 21-ball 45 from Kanwar (3×4, 5×6) and an even more belligerent 58 (37b, 6×4, 3×6) from Kieron Pollard, MI ended with 176/5, a total that may that would have taken some chasing even on as good a track as the one provided.
Poor starts, a non-performing middle-order, all that was history. Kanwar, coming in place of T Suman, may not have known much about Dale Steyn’s opening over, but then he knew his own strengths it seemed. The hoick to leg was his forte, as the experienced Charl Langeveldt soon found out, there were a couple of inside out shots as well off the spinners, but the pick was the straight six off pacer Vernon Philander.
Where was this guy all this while was the thought just before he holed out off an impressive Robin Peterson at the extra cover fence, Owais Shah picking the first of his four catches on the line.
Indeed, where was Pollard before this in the tournament was the next question, and why has he almost never been sent this early in the order was the follow up query.
Who cares, we wish he wasn’t here would have been the thought in the Cobras ranks as first JP Duminy, who had conceded 17 to Kanwar off his first over, suffered in his third at the hands of Pollard.