When a team has set the target of 129 in a T20 game, and if the opposition doesn’t manage to chase it, it is often due to either a dismal batting performance or due to spectacular bowling.
In Hyderabad for the final of the tenth edition of the IPL, it was a mixture of both, as Mumbai Indians got home by just a run against the Rising Pune Supergiant to clinch their third IPL title.
Chasing just 129, Pune, instead of being positive, went into a shell and looked to delay things. The approach exhibited by Steven Smith was entirely baffling, as his strike rate barely touched the 100 mark and he was in no mood to take any risk. That eventually added a lot of pressure and once MS Dhoni was outfoxed by Jasprit Bumrah, the game tilted in Mumbai’s favour.
Post the loss and after ending up as runners up, Pune skipper Steven Smith admitted that the loss was extremely hard for him to fathom.
“It’s a hard one to swallow,” said a dejected Smith. “I am proud of the way the boys played throughout the season. A lot of credit should go to Mumbai as well. 130 was an under-par score, but they fought well. They bowled beautifully. I thought Johnson was magnificent. Bumrah and Malinga were very good as well.”
Personally, despite batting quite well throughout the tournament, Smith couldn’t quite set the arena ablaze in the all important final. “It’s a wonderful tournament to be part of. I would like to thank the RPS team management. It is always nice when you are winning and getting to the final, but it’s a bit disappointing to lose in the final,” he added.