At the toss, Rohit Sharma mentioned how evident it was that Wankhede Stadium was a chasing venue. Despite calling the toss correctly, the Mumbai Indians stumbled again, this time in front of a raucous home crowd, losing by 36 runs to the Lucknow Super Giants—their eighth consecutive defeat in a winless season. MI bowlers have had to deal with a lot of agony this season, but none more so than the misery delivered by KL Rahul’s bat. The LSG captain batted his way through the innings for an unbroken 103 (62b, 12×4, 4×6), his second IPL century against the same opponents.

Despite the fact that wickets fell at the other end, Rahul seemed to be batting on a separate pitch, cranking up the scoring pace at whim and frequently exploiting the shorter side, collecting multiple boundaries square of the wicket. Rahul began experimenting with the field with his ground strokes on a day when maximums were hard to come by. In the death overs, he hit two fours off Riley Meredith’s 18th over and three off successive balls from Jaydev Unadkat’s 19th over. LSG’s total of 168 was boosted by 52 runs in the final five overs.

Batters did not take any risks in the first half of the LSG innings, and only pushed the throttle in the 10th over when Meredith missed his lengths. They ran him over for 17 runs. Rahul opted to target Daniel Sams in the 13th over after achieving his 50, blasting two sixes on either side of the wicket. The slower balls had started to work on the sluggish surface by this time. Marcus Stoinis, who had been upgraded to the batting order, holed out to deep mid-wicket for 0 runs in the same Sams over. Kieron Pollard, on the other hand, accounted for Manish Pandey 22 (22b) and Krunal Pandya with his own form of slower balls (1).