Rohit leads Mumbai Indians to 8-wicket victory

A day after turning 29, Sharma displayed the talent – along with the hard work which he has continually stressed on as the secret behind his success with the bat – to set up Mumbai Indians’ comfortable eight wicket victory in the Maharashtra Derby against Rising Pune Supergiants.

Going by innings against Rising Pune Supergiants, it was clear that Rohit Sharma had reserved his birthday celebrations for Sunday.   -  Vivek Bendre

“When @ImRo45 Was Born, Doctor Said “Mubarak Ho Ji, Talent Hua Hai”. While #HappyBirthdayHitman was trending on Twitter on Saturday, legendary opener Virender Sehwag wished Rohit Sharma in his peculiar style. A day after turning 29, Sharma displayed the talent – along with the hard work which he has continually stressed on as the secret behind his success with the bat – to set up Mumbai Indians’ comfortable eight wicket victory in the Maharashtra Derby against Rising Pune Supergiants.

>Full Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

After his bowlers had staged a remarkable comeback in the latter half to restrict Supergiants to a sub-par 159 for five, Rohit – nicknamed Hitman in the Mumbai Indians dressing room – led from the front to anchor a perfect chase at the Maharashtra Cricket Association ground at Gahunje.

>Read: Mumbai Indians embarks on a welcome six-day breather

Ever since he swiped a not-so-short one from Thisara Perera into the stands over cow corner in the third over of the chase, it was clear that Rohit had reserved his birthday celebrations for Sunday.

Then on, till he slog-swept Murugan Ashwin into the stands in the penultimate over to finish the match off, not once did Rohit appear to have lost control of his innings, and the game as a result.

Had it not been for the Mumbai Indians’ splendid bowling effort in the second half, Rohit would have had to play out of his skins to help Mumbai go into a five-day break with ten points on the board.

When Steve Smith continuing from where he had left two nights ago, with a century against Gujarat Lions at the same venue, Mumbai Indians were in danger of chasing down a gargantuan total. His three consecutive boundaries off Tim Southee in the third over were not the prettiest of strokes, but his flick through midwicket and an uppercut over third-man fence off Mitchell McClenaghan in the next over indicated that Smith was in for another special.

However, in the 10th over, his attempt to delicately guide Jasprit Bumrah to the third man resulted in a thick edge to Parthiv Patel. That was the moment Mumbai Indians were craving far. So flustered was the visiting unit with the onslaught that when Ambati Rayudu’s valiant dive on the fence resulted in conceding a boundary off Harbhajan Singh, the two senior pros were involved in a verbal exchange.

However, Tiwary was unable to switch into the next gear, with Bumrah, McClenaghan and Harbhajan bowling tight lines. Neither Tiwary nor his Jharkhand senior Mahendra Singh Dhoni could break the shackles as the Pune outfit could add only 66 runs in the last ten overs. That the second half saw just three fours and a six shows the discipline with which the Mumbai Indians bowlers bowled on a track that was as flat as the Pune surface has been all along the tournament.

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