Hardik Pandya’s heroic attempt denied by Umesh Yadav, cuts short Sachin Tendulkar’s celebration in last-over GT-MI drama | Cricket

None would have guessed the script when Mumbai Indians were 48 runs away from victory from 36 balls with seven wickets in hand. The visitors were well on course in the chase, aiming for their maiden win against Gujarat Titans in Indian Premier League (IPL) history and their first win in the opening fixture of a season since 2012. And even as the GT bowlers dished out a splendid show in the death overs to chole the run-scoring, Hardik Pandya attempted a heroic stunt in the last over to keep Mumbai alive in the contest. But a nerveless Umesh Yadav denied him a memorable return to his old franchise as Gujarat prevailed in the thriller at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

Umesh Yadav defended 19 runs in the last over against Mumbai Indians
Umesh Yadav defended 19 runs in the last over against Mumbai Indians

With Mumbai en route to what seemed a certain victory, Gujarat attack bowled some tight overs in the death. Rashid Khan conceded just three singles in the 17th over, followed by nine runs and a wicket from Mohit Sharma in the 18th over and just eight runs and two wickets from debutant Spencer Johnson in the penultimate over of the match. The valiant effort from the bowlers left Mumbai needing 19 to chase in the final over.

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Hardik, who raised some eyebrows with his strategy to walk in at No. 7 for Mumbai, contrary to his top-order position at GT in the last two seasons, gave some hope to the visitors as he smashed a six over extra cover in the first ball of the final over followed by a boundary as an animated Ashish Nehra walked back to seat while Sachin Tendulkar was left elated as he applauded the effort. MI required nine off the last four balls.

Umesh backed his skill of bowling short and quick as it brought result in the third ball of the over as Hardik, this time, failed to clear the boundary and instead gave a simple catching practice to Rahul Tewatia at long-on. The veteran India fast bowler dished out another short ball on the next delivery as Piyush Chawla pulled it flat and straight into the hands of Rashid Khan at deep mid-wicket. All of a sudden GT were once again back in the game with two successive wickets, leaving Sachin quiet and tensed in the dugout, while Nehra was a busy man on the sidelines yet again.

With the lower-order exposed, MI failed to make a difference in the final two deliveries, managing only a single each, as Gujarat scripted a six-run win at home.

While the loss denied a cheerful homecoming for Hardik to Ahmedabad, the venue where he lifted the IPL trophy as a captain of Gujarat in 2022, it was subsequently a victorious start to Shubman Gill’s captaincy era at the Titans.


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