On this day, Nitish Rana became a household name in Mumbai with his match-winning knock that saw the Indians steal the victory right from the mouth of Kolkata Knight Riders. In the away fixture at Wankhede, Knight Riders batting first scored 178/7 and looked comfortable in the defense as they managed to go past the MI middle order. It was very late that Rana and Pandya combined to take the game.
MI chasing 179 to win needed 49 runs from the last 18 balls. They had already lost their two major finishers in Krunal Pandya and Kieron Pollard. On crease was a Delhi youngster who was yet to be known to the masses. Along with him was Hardik Pandya who had played few such knocks for MI before but this seemed a bit big for him.
New Zealand’s ace swing bowler Trent Boult stepped up to bowl the over number 18. He had two overs left, he had to end it for KKR. Boult kept both batsmen quiet for the first two balls. He conceded only 2 runs on the first two balls, one of which was a leg-bye.
Next ball was an attempted yorker which turned into a low full-toss. Rana played it deftly through the backward point region and earned a boundary. Next ball was another full-toss that Rana plonked over the deep square leg for a six. Boult tried a variation with his slower ball which resulted in just a single.
There was no escape though, next ball Hardik Pandya slammed another six over long-on. The target now came down to 30 from the last two overs. Ankit Rajpoot was summoned to bowl the penultimate over. Nitish Rana took control in his hands and smashed Rajpoot for another six and four. Rajpoot did make a comeback of sorts when he snicked Nitish Rana for 50 but the damage was done.
Hardik Pandya who was batting inhibited at the end went on to smack another six in Rajpoot’s over and managed to hit Trent Boult for 11 runs in his first five balls of his over. Mumbai Indians went wild at the Wankhede. It was not only about the incredible blast by Hardik at the end but finding a new star in Nitish Rana.