For the visitors, the M Chinnaswamy Stadium has always been a happy hunting ground and on Wednesday they posted their sixth win in seven encounters against the home team. Having restricted the RCB to just 151/4, Mumbai Indians knocked off the target with eight balls to spare. It was a clinical display as the bowlers executed their plans well against a strong batting line-up and the batsmen planned their chase well after losing Parthiv Patel on the seventh ball of their innings.
Rohit Sharma (25) and Ambati Rayudu (44) batted with caution and did not panic even though the Powerplay overs fetched only 39 runs. They stuck to their plan and continued to bat in the same fashion when the field was spread out. The two focused on rotating the strike before Rohit’s miscued shot resulted in his wicket in the 10th over.
With Varun Aaron ending the 58-run stand, the home team looked to build pressure. Playing his maiden IPL game, young Nitish Rana batting at No. 4, perished for just nine when he was caught brilliantly by Stuart Binny in the deep. The home team lifted themselves in the field and a magical effort from AB de Villiers ended Rayudu’s stay in the middle for 44. de Villiers ran hard from long-on to take an excellent diving catch off Aaron’s bowling.
After Rayudu’s dismissal, the Mumbai Indians still needed 44 from four overs but their overseas batsmen Kieron Pollard (35 off 19) and Jos Buttler batted beautifully to seal the victory. Pollard first targeted Shane Watson, who gave away 18 runs while Buttler (29 off 11) slammed two sixes off Chris Jordan to bring the equation down to a paltry 10 from just 12 balls. The Englishman hit a six to complete the proceedings.
Earlier, the home team got off to a disastrous start with their key batsmen failing to get to double digits. Playing perhaps the most important match of the league, RCB included Chris Gayle in the line-up to bolster their batting attack. The big-hitting Jamaican’s inclusion thrilled the home crowd, but his stint in the middle ended in yet another disappointment.
Struggling to get big scores, Gayle in his comeback game lasted only six balls. His score of five, was his seventh consecutive single digit score in T20s. Gayle’s dismissal left the team reeling at 17-2 after captain Kohli endured a rare blip, getting out on the first ball of the second over bowled by Tim Southee. The Mumbai Indians’ had placed a fly slip for Kohli and the RCB captain’s poke went straight to the fielder.
Two quick dismissals resulted in a drastic fall in the run-rate. A third-wicket partnership of 43 runs put the home team back on track. However, RCB lost the third wicket when AB was caught off Pandya’s bowling in a bid to accelerate. Local boy KL Rahul, who negotiated a tough spell at the start, batted with a lot maturity and picked the bowlers well. As the overs began to trickle, he upped the ante. At one stage it looked like, RCB would struggle to get to 135, but the 18th over shifted the momentum.
The move to bowl Pollard over Harbhajan Singh, whose three overs had only gone for 19 runs, proved detrimental as the big man was smashed for three sixes and a four. Rahul remained unbeaten on 68, while Sachin Baby made 25 from only 13 balls providing a late flourish. For the visitors,Krunal Pandya stood out with his tight spell of four overs. He bowled 11 dot balls and gave away only 15 runs.
Brief scores: Royal Challengers Banglore B 151/4 in 20 overs (KL Rahul 68 not out, Sachin Baby 25 not out, Krunal Pandya 1/15) lost to Mumbai Indians 153/4 in 18.4 overs (Ambati Rayudu 44, Kieron Pollard 35 not out, Varun Aaron 2/37) by 6 wickets.
Man of the Match: Krunal Pandya for his excellent bowling figures of 4-0-15-1