MI pick three players as dressing room’s ‘Player of the Match [Image- Screengrab]
Defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) stormed back into the reckoning for the playoffs with an eight-wicket annihilation of the Rajasthan Royals in a must-win game in Sharjah on Tuesday (October 05) evening.
It was an all-round performance by Mumbai, led by their pacers Jasprit Bumrah, Nathan Coulter-Nile and James Neesham. The victory was capped off by Ishan Kishan, who stormed back into form with an unbeaten 25-ball half-century.
Kishan was one of three players chosen by the management as the dressing room’s “Player of the Match.” Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar handed the souvenir to the young southpaw.
After receiving the souvenir, Kishan said:
“It was a very good game and very much needed for our team. To get back in shape. Let’s do it again in the next game.”
Apart from Ishan, champion pacer Jasprit Bumrah was adjudged the second “Player of the Match.”
The right-handed pacer claimed the crucial wicket of the dangerous-looking Evin Lewis and later returned to dismiss tailender Shreyas Gopal at the expense of just 14 runs in four overs.
On receiving the award from MI’s Director of Cricket Zaheer Khan, Bumrah said:
“Very happy with the win. And let’s take one game at a time which is the next one. Let’s focus on what we can control. And let’s hope for the best.”
Mumbai’s eight-wicket win against Rajasthan has helped them improve their net run-rate in addition to taking them to fifth spot in the table. However, they will need to defeat SRH in their final fixture and hope RR defeat the Kolkata Knight Riders in their last fixture on Thursday (October 7).
“Let’s keep going” – MI all-rounder James Neesham
The third and final pick for the dressing room’s “Player of the Match” was James Neesham.
The Kiwi seam-bowling all-rounder made an instant impact in his first outing in the UAE leg as he made brilliant use of a slow and sluggish Sharjah track to strangle the Rajasthan batting-unit. Neesham gave away just 12 runs in his four overs in addition to claiming the prized scalps of Sanju Samson, Shivam Dube and Rahul Tewatia.
After receiving the award, he said:
“It’s good to be back after a long time. Let’s keep going.”
Mumbai will play their final league-stage fixture against the Sunrisers Hyderabad in Abu Dhabi on Friday (October 8).
It will be another must-win game for the five-time champions. It is worth noting, however, that KKR would have played their last fixture a day earlier. The result of that game will let MI know exactly what they need to do to make it to the playoffs.