Captain Rohit Sharma keeps MI’s slim play-off hopes alive

Rohit Sharma played a captain’s knock to keep MI’s slim play-off hopes alive in IPL 2018 as the visitors stunned CSK by eight wickets at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune on Saturday.

This was MI’s second win in seven matches as they moved off the bottom of the table. Table-toppers CSK, on the other hand, suffered their second defeat in seven matches.

The match was evenly poised right towards the end with Mumbai, in pursuit of 170, needing 22 off 12 balls to win. Rohit kept his cool under pressure and took four elegant fours off Shardul Thakur in the penultimate over to make the visitors favourites to take the contest.

Rohit remained unbeaten on 56 off 33 balls as MI claimed the encounter with two balls to go. Openers Suryakumar Yadav and West Indian Evin Lewis made 44 and 47 respectively and played their part in the comeback win for Mumbai.

Earlier after MI put CSK into bat, Suresh Raina extended his lead over Virat Kohli in terms of most runs in the history of the league.

CSK’s Raina scored a 47-ball 75 not out and took his overall tally to 4,744 — leaving Bangalore’s Kohli 77 runs behind. The left-hander hit six fours and four sixes during the course of his innings and helped the hosts to 169/5.

This was Raina’s first fifty this season in five matches. Raina also went past Kohli in terms of the most number of fifties. This was his 33rd fifty in all.

Raina joined Ambati Rayudu after the departure of Aussie Shane Watson for 12. He and Rayudu (46 off 36 balls) added 71 for the second wicket to put CSK on course for a big score. Rayudu continued his great run and became the first batsman this season to reach the 300-run mark during the course of his innings.

However despite the good start, the CSK batsmen couldn’t go all out in the last few overs on what appeared a difficult wicket, and that they still managed to put up a competitive total was largely due to Raina’s exploits.

He was circumspect and decided to hang in there and wait for his opportunities. He and MS Dhoni (26) added 46 for the third wicket. The 31-year-old ended the CSK innings in style with a six off medium pacer Hardik Pandya.

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