Wicketkeeper-batter Ishan Kishan showed immense maturity as he anchored Mumbai Indians innings to a fighting 177 for 5 with an unbeaten 81 against Delhi Capitals in their IPL match here on Sunday.
The 23-year-old opener, who became the most expensive buy of the IPL 2022 auction when MI bought him back for Rs 15.25 crore, proved his worth as he smashed 11 fours and two sixes in his 48-ball unbeaten knock.
After playing a second-fiddle to his skipper Rohit Sharma (41) inside the Power Play, Kishan came on his own to smash his third fifty in a row for MI, and 10th overall.
Delhi put on the brakes in the middle overs, riding on Kuldeep Yadav's fine bowling effort of 4-0-18-3 which included the prized wickets of Rohit and Kieron Pollard (3). But Kishan held fort even as wickets fell around him before exploding in the death with Mumbai scoring 59 runs in the final five overs.
Mumbai debutant Tilak Varma also impressed in his 22 off 15 balls, but it was the Jharkhand batter who stepped on the gas in the death overs and also displayed a helicopter shot to prop up the total. Playing with just two foreigners, Delhi missed their overseas recruits like Anrich Nortje (hip injury) and Lungi Ngidi as their pace attack of Shardul Thakur (4-0-47-0), Khaleel Ahmed (4-0-27-2) and Kamlesh Nagarkoti (2-0-29-0) looked ordinary.
In a new avatar, Kuldeep bowled flat out and was spot on with his lengths and did not let the batters have a go at him. He first had Rohit with a back of a length delivery and then got Anmolpreet holed out to long off with a tossed up delivery.
Rohit and Kishan gave Mumbai a rollicking start. The skipper smashed three boundaries and two sixes, while his left-handed partner Kishan hit three boundaries and a six as the duo raced to 53 runs in six overs.
Just when Mumbai were toying with the lacklustre Delhi pace attack, Kuldeep halted their run flow with his twin breakthroughs after the Power Play.