CHENNAI: Akash Madhwal came into this match as a yorker specialist who was doing a good job of trying to fill the void left by Jasprit Bumrah and Jofra Archer‘s absence.
By the end, though, he showed how lethal he can be as a good old-fashioned back-of-the-length seam bowler too. The 29-year-old from Uttarakhand came up with an inspired spell and his maiden fifer on Wednesday night to bamboozle the Lucknow Super Giants and end their campaign on a rather tame note.
Madhwal’s exemplary figures of 3.3-5-5, combined with three freak run-outs handed Lucknow an 81-run thrashing and propelled the Mumbai Indians to a Qualifier-2 meeting with the Gujarat Titans.
Madhwal bowled quick and straight, either attacking the stumps or going just wide of off stump to cramp batters for room. He got good bounce and kept beating the outside edge to seed doubts that eventually resulted in wickets. His back-to-back dismissals of Ayush Badoni, who he cleaned up, and dangerman Nicholas Pooran was the undoubted turning point of the game.
LSG had a torrid day in terms of running between the wickets, and three major mix-ups sent back key batters like Marcus Stoinis, Deepak Hooda and Krishnappa Gowtham. The self-inflicted damage proved fatal for them as they sank to a humiliating 81-run loss in a chase of 182.
Earlier, the MI innings was one of two halves. The first half saw some fearless batting by Mumbai Indians’ top four, aided by what seemed like an uncharacteristically easy-paced Chepauk track. The second half contradictingly saw Naveen-ul-Haq showing faith in the inherent nature of surfaces here, using a variety of slower deliveries to outwit MI batters and keep denting them at regular intervals.
In the end, Nehal Wadhera’s inventive slogging in the 20th over took MI to a good total on a pitch which got increasingly difficult to bat.
A square-cut boundary by Ishan Kishan off the game’s first ball signalled MI’s approach straight away. Ishan and skipper Rohit Sharma fell early, but Cameron Green and Suryakumar Yadav carried on with the aggressive intent after the opening pair’s departure, and did not seem to face much difficulty in hitting through the line. With the ball coming on to the bat much better than it did the previous night, both Green and Surya were able to play the kind of free-flowing strokes they would have at Wankhede.
While Green drove and cut with élan through the off side, Surya hit a couple of audacious pulls over the wicketkeeper’s head for six. Both seemed to be taking MI to a formidable total when Naven-ul-Haq disrupted their plans with a double blow in the 11th over. He first sent back Surya with a leg-cutter that was devoid of any pace, resulting in the batter lobbing an intended drive to long off. The pacer then foxed Green with an off-cutter that came back in to rattle his stumps.
The dismissals decelerated the innings and brought LSG well and truly back in the game. Tilak Varma and Tim David took some time to regroup and were looking to build a partnership when Tim holed out to long on off a high Yash Thakur full toss.
Nehal Wadhera (23 off 12 balls) came on as the impact substitute in place of Surya and did his job well, finding the fence thrice in the final over which all but took the game away from Lucknow.
Watch IPL: Mumbai thrash Lucknow in Eliminator, to face Gujarat in Qualifier 2