It is difficult to keep Mitchell Marsh out of the game. Be it with the bat or with the ball. On Tuesday at the DY Patil Stadium, where playing strokes was tricky, the 30-year-old dealt in sixes to hasten the Delhi Capitals victory and keep alive their hopes of making the Play Offs.
Marsh scored 89 in 62 balls with five fours and seven sixes, his powerful strokes off pacers and spinners taking his team over the line with 11 balls to spare.
The Western Australia all-rounder had more sixes than fours, preferring to go aerial and clearing the boundary line with ease. After RR began brilliantly with Trent Boult dismissing opener KS Bharat off the second delivery edging to wicketkeeper and Prasidh Krishna bowling a maiden over to Marsh, the Australian duo of Warner and Marsh assessed the pitch conditions and paced their innings accordingly.
Marsh unleashed his strokes, sending R Ashwin high over long-off for his first six, then pulling Krishna over backward square leg before smashing Kuldeep Sen’s confidence in his first over with a six over mid-wicket followed by one straight into the sightscreen.
It was déjà vu of the 2021 ICC T20 World Cup final in which Marsh and Warner combined to chase down New Zealand’s total of 172 with ease, the right-hander making 77 not out while Warner made 53, the two sharing 92 for the second wicket. On Tuesday, the two raised 144 for the second wicket in 101 balls.
Against RR, Marsh reached his maiden IPL fifty in his 27th match with his fifth six over long-on off Chahal, the shot was gaining elevation and just about clearing Jos Buttler manning the boundary line, whose attempt to catch it was futile. By the time he fell within 11 runs of what would have been a brilliant century, he had taken DC to the doorstep of a victory.
Marsh was clearly the star of the day, undoubtedly the man of the match, as he had earlier shone with the ball also, checking the Royals batsmen with some accurate medium-pace bowling. He took two wickets for 25 runs in his three overs, striking with the first ball of his second over when he had Yashasvi Jaiswal pull him to mid-wicket boundary. He was stopped after two overs as RR’s Ashwin and Devdutt Padikkal went about building a partnership slowly but steadily.
Marsh returned to the attack in the 15th over and struck straightaway, a tired Ashwin lofting to mid-off for David Warner to complete the catch.
It was a day when almost everything went Marsh's, and DC's, way.