In the IPL Eliminator match held on Wednesday, little-known Uttarakhand engineer Akash Madhwal delivered a remarkable performance, taking five wickets and leading the Mumbai Indians to an 81-run victory over the Lucknow Super Giants.
Mumbai Indians scored 182 for 8 in their 20 overs, which seemed slightly inadequate considering the explosive batting lineup of Lucknow. However, Madhwal’s exceptional figures of 5 wickets for just 5 runs in 3.3 overs, coupled with excellent ground fielding led by captain Rohit Sharma, caused the Gautam Gambhir-mentored side to collapse for a meager total of 101 in 16.3 overs. The Sanjiv Goenka-owned Lucknow Super Giants suffered three run-outs during their disastrous innings.
With this win, Mumbai Indians advanced to the second Qualifier in Ahmedabad, where they will face the Gujarat Titans on Friday. The winner of that match will then proceed to the final against the Chennai Super Kings on Sunday.
During the match, Naveen ul Haq, the fiery Afghanistan seamer, made an impact by taking 4 wickets for 37 runs, creating some concern for the Mumbai Indians’ final score. He dismissed the MI captain Rohit Sharma (11 off 10 balls), key batsman Suryakumar Yadav (33 off 20 balls), last match’s hero Cameron Green (41 off 23 balls), and the dangerous Tilak Verma (26 off 22 balls). Naveen’s crucial dismissals of Suryakumar and Green in the same over played a significant role as Mumbai Indians fell short of a par-score by approximately 15 runs. Nehal Wadhera replaced Suryakumar and contributed with a quickfire 23 off 12 balls, including a six and two fours in the final over bowled by Yash Thakur (3 for 34), boosting Mumbai Indians’ final total.
Mumbai Indians’ innings had a slow start, with skipper Rohit Sharma getting dismissed for 11 runs off 10 balls in the fourth over, attempting to accelerate the scoring rate. In the following over, Yash Thakur claimed the wicket of Ishan Kishan (15 off 12 balls) with a caught-behind dismissal. However, Suryakumar Yadav and Cameron Green built a crucial partnership of 66 runs for the third wicket, providing momentum to the Mumbai Indians’ innings. Green, who scored a century in the final league match against SRH, smashed six boundaries and one six, while Yadav hit two maximums and two fours in his quickfire knock of 20 balls.
The standout moment of the match came when Akash Madhwal bowled a decisive delivery to Nicholas Pooran (0) from around the wicket. The delivery, delivered from a slightly wide off the crease, swung inward, nipped away with extra bounce, and forced Pooran to edge it behind the stumps to Ishan Kishan. This wicket broke Lucknow Super Giants’ back, and Madhwal continued his impressive bowling performance, taking four more wickets. Captain Rohit Sharma’s exceptional fielding effort, with a relay throw to run out Krishnappa Gowtham, added to the Mumbai Indians’ dominance.
Overall, it was a memorable match for Akash Madhwal, who had previously played tennis ball cricket until the age of 23, as he showcased his talent with an outstanding bowling performance, leading the Mumbai Indians to a convincing victory. (With inputs from PTI)