The Mumbai Indians recovered from an early innings collapse to defeat the Royal Challengers Bangalore by 4 wickets at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Friday evening. MI did extremely well to restrict a formidable-looking RCB batting line-up to a below-par 142. In pursuit of 143, MI slipped to7 for 4 before Kieron Pollard and Krunal Pandya stitched together a partnership that put the chase back on track. Though Pollard was dismissed on the brink, Krunal finished the job in the company of his younger brother Hardik; MI got across the finish line in 18.5 overs.
The visitors were rocked right at the start of the run-chase; Samuel Badree, making his debut for RCB, bowled a sensational spell of 4-1-9-4, which included a hat-trick. The Trinidadian struck in thrice in succession in his second over – dismissing Parthiv Patel, Mitchell McClenaghan and Rohit Sharma – to push the visitors into a corner. MI slipped into further trouble when Nitish Rana became the spinner’s fourth victim in the eighth over; MI 33-5.
Pollard and Krunal then got together and batted sensibly, biding their time. The pair put a big price on their wickets and focused on staying alive in the chase. They hit the occasional boundary or the six, but were intent on taking the match to the end. It was only towards the end of the 14th over that the pair decided to step on the gas. Negi was taken for a six in the 14th over, while Tymal Mills conceded two boundaries in the following over. In the 16th, Pollard teed off against Negi hitting the left-arm spinner for two consecutive sixes to bring up his half-century.
Pollard was dismissed in the eighteenth over when he miscued the leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal; the Trinidadian made 70 from 47 balls, three of which crossed the ropes and five of which sailed over the ropes. His partnership with Krunal was worth 93 runs.The Pandya brothers then finished the job; Krunal remained unbeaten on 37 from 30 balls, while Hardik struck Mills for a six to seal the deal.
For RCB, Badree was the star with the ball, though he will be disappointed that his sensational spell wasn’t sufficient to take his team to a win. Stuart Binny and Chahal also chipped in with wickets, while SreenathAravind – returning to the RCB XI – bowled tidily too.
Earlier in the evening, RCB rode on skipper ViratKohli’s half-century to get to 142-5. Kohli, returning to the RCB XI after recovering from his shoulder injury, showed no rustiness of not having played any competitive match for a month. His first authoritative stroke was the six off Tim Southee in the third over; he got stuck into the Kiwi hitting him for successive boundaries in the same over.
Kohli then settled down for the long haul, while his opening partner Chris Gayle opened his shoulders every now and then. The Jamaican was extremely cautious against Harbhajan Singh– though he hit the off-spinner for a six in the seventh over – and scored at less than a run-a-ball till the off-spinner was done through his four overs.
But immediately after he had seen through Harbhajan, Gayle attempted to open his shoulders, but only managed a thin edge to the wicket-keeper; the left-hander made 22 from 27 balls, and the opening partnership was worth 63 in 9.2 overs.
AB de Villiers and Kohli, who had demolished many opponents last season, added 47 runs in 6.1 overs. Virat– who overtook Suresh Raina to become the IPL’s highest run-getter - was dismissed in the 16thover when he holed out to extra cover, while de Villiers was dismissed in the following over – courtesy a sensational one handed diving catch by Rohit Sharma. RCB 115-3 after 16.2 overs.
The two dismissals cost RCB momentum heading into the business end of the innings. RCB, who did not hit a single boundary in the final 5.2 overs of the innings, eventually finished at 142-5.
MI were excellent on the field. The decision-making by Rohit Sharma was spot on, and the bowlers maintained the discipline, to keep the hosts to a below-par score. McClenaghan, who had come in for stick earlier in the tournament, finished with figures of 2-20, while the Pandya brothers finished with combined figures of 6-0-30-2. Harbhajan Singh bowled brilliantly with the new ball and in the powerplay period, finished with figures of 0-23.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: 142-5 (ViratKohli 62, Mitchell McClenaghan 2-20) Lost to Mumbai Indians: 145-6 in 18.5 Overs (Kieron Pollard 70, Krunal Pandya 37*, Samuel Badree 4-9)
Man of the Match: Kieron Pollard