The first half of IPL-10 has been strangely cruel to Rohit Sharma. Even as the 30-year-old was leading the Mumbai Indians from one thrilling win to another, the runs suddenly dried up suddenly. Coming off an injury which put him out of the game for nearly six months, the stylish India batsman repeatedly succumbed to googlies from leg-spinners while scratching around in the middle.
The only time he truly fired was when he cracked a half-century against Pune at Wankhede, but even that knock was marred by his run-in with the umpire over a controversial wide, and his failure to take the team home.
On Monday, though, the class act seemed to have finally put his miseries behind as he cracked an unbeaten 56 to guide his team through to a five-wicket win in a tense chase against the Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Wankhede Stadium.
Chasing 163 Run, MI seemed on course even as they lost Parthiv Patel for a first-ball duck and out as Jos Buttler 33 and Nitish Rana (27 added 61 in 44 balls for the second wicket. However, the habit of making a heavy weather of their chase came back to haunt them yet again as they slipped to 130/5 in the 17th over.
Even as wickets fell at the other end, Rohit stayed calm. His move to promote Karn Sharma ahead of Hardik Pandya paid off and the two put on 29 runs in three overs, with Rohit alone scoring 18.
The equation was 18 runs off 12 balls when Rohit played his first improvised stroke of the innings — moving to the off side and slog-sweeping Sreenath Aravind for a six. It was the knockout punch for RCB as Mumbai Indians were left with only seven runs to get in six balls. Rohit sealed the win with a four off the penultimate delivery.