Fast Australian Daniel Sams is quickly becoming a hero of the Mumbai Indians as he followed a masterpiece kill against Gujarat at the IPL with a game-winning player showing against Chennai.
With a little help from their friend Riley Meredith, the Aussie duo were instrumental in orchestrating Mumbai’s five-wicket win at their Wankhede Stadium on Thursday.
The battle between the league’s two highest-profile but currently struggling teams was largely decided by Sams’ brilliant four-win display, which took him 3-16, while Meredith went in at 2-27 as she defeated Chennai by 97, his second lowest total in the annals of the IPL.
Even the struggling Mumbai hitters couldn’t make a mistake chasing this weak total as another Australian Tim David, broke two big sixes in his 16 no to guide them to their target at 5-103 with more than five overs to spare.
Sams, 29, is heading his way to Mumbai, having overcome the miserable death that earned them a victory against Gujarat six days earlier.
This time he scored early, winning a debatable lbw decision against fit New Zealander Devon Conway on the second ball, a verdict that surely only came because the DRS was unavailable early on due to a power failure.
Sams then got Moeen Ali to throw an easy catch from a short and he attacked again as Ruturaj Gaikwad caught behind in his third over.
Milperra’s left-back was even outpacing his brilliant teammate Jasprit Bumrah at the other end as Chennai looked in danger of being relegated by less than 79, his lowest IPL score also against Mumbai nine years ago.
Meredith swung into action by claiming the wickets of Ambati Rayudu and Shivam Dube in successive overs to reduce Chennai to 6-39, before MS Dhoni spared the Super Kings a real embarrassment with 36 undefeated.
Mumbai struggled in response, with the Sams big night somewhat soured by being sacked by just one after being dropped to number three.
He was one of paceman Mukesh Chaudhary’s three casualties in the batting powerplay, which reduced Mumbai to 4-33 before his recovery was completed by Tilak Varma (34 without 32) and David (16 without seven).
“I just found out I was focusing too much on the hitter and not my strengths,” Sams said later, reflecting on how he got stronger as the season progressed.
“That was something to work on in training and it was more of a reflection of when I get here, I’m going to do what I do really well.
“The entire IPL this year has been beautiful wickets to play. There are some that have been flat, but there have been some that have good pace, good bounce and a little more grass. So it’s been really enjoyable.
“Obviously today’s pitch was player friendly so it’s nice to see a T20 game where players dominate.”