Reigning Champions Successfully Defend their Fortress in a Tense Battle
Mumbai Indians beat the Royal Challengers Bangalore by 19 runs in an extremely engaging battle at Wankhede Stadium. A tense atmosphere that was fuelled by some intense byplay in the middle provided the perfect backdrop for what turned out to be a must-watch contest. After posting 187 for five – that included vital contributions from Rohit Sharma and Kieron Pollard – MI restricted RCB to 168 for eight, with Jasprit Bumrah, Harbhajan Singh and Lasith Malinga claiming two victims each.
Earlier, RCB won the toss and chose to field first. Meanwhile, Mi altered their top order; they sent CM Gautam to open along with Ben Dunk. And while the duo gave their team a promising start, Dunk (15) got out off the bowling of Harshal Patel. With the scorecard reading 25 for one, Ambati Rayudu walked in at No.3. And while he took some time to make an impact, Gautam took charge of proceedings. Thanks largely to him MI posted 50 in the powerplay. The second-wicket pair ended up adding 46 runs, until Ashok Dinda bowled Rayudu (9) out in the eighth over.
And shortly thereafter, Varun Aaron had Gautam (30) caught behind. With MI on 77 for three, the tide was turning in RCB’s favour, and Yuzvendra Chahal took advantage of it by dismissing Corey Anderson (6) seven runs later. Kieron Pollard then joined Rohit Sharma in the middle, and the pair took MI to the three-figure mark in the 13th over. Both batsmen got their eye in and took the attack to the RCB bowlers. In fact, the battle between bat and ball heated up in the latter overs as Mitchell Starc and Pollard exchanged pleasantries that were – to put it mildly – against the spirit of the game.
Despite the palpable tension, the big hitting did not cease, and Rohit Sharma even brought up his half-century with a top-edged six over the thirdman fence. And thanks to the MI skipper’s blitz, the 19th over yielded 24 runs. And then, in the final over, the Starc-Pollard rivalry resumed, but it was interrupted when the bowler ran his opponent out. Rohit Sharma, however, ended the innings with a stunning boundary as MI ended up at 187 for five.
In response, Chris Gayle and Parthiv Patel came out all guns blazing. They clobbered the MI bowlers to all corners of the park and even raked up 28 runs off a Pawan Suyal over – the third of the innings. The duo soon brought up the RCB 50. But soon after that, Harbhajan Singh bowled Parthiv Patel (26) out. Still, with Gayle firing on all cylinders, the visitors clocked in 64 runs during the powerplay. The RCB run-rate continued to hover around the 10-an-over mark, and MI desperately needed a breakthrough. They were provided with one, courtesy Harbhajan Singh – the veteran spinner cleaned up the hard-hitting Gayle (38).
AB de Villiers joined Virat Kohli in the middle with the score on 94. The RCB 100 came up in the 11th over. Jasprit Bumrah then struck in the 13th over; he bowled de Villiers (9) out before he could make a sizeable impact. And then, in the next over, Suyal struck a vital blow; he had Kohli (35) caught at long-off. And after a couple of tight overs, the momentum was back in Mumbai’s favour. With Yuvraj Singh and Rilee Rossouw taking guard, RCB needed to score at over 12-an-over in the final five overs. Then, it took a fancy bit of footwork from Pollard to run Yuvraj Singh (6) out; the MI all-rounder accurately kicked the ball onto the stumps before the batsman could make his ground.
In the very next over, Laisth Malinga claimed Starc (5), who handed a simple catch to Pollard at mid-off. RCB were reduced to 139 for six in 16.4 overs after that dismissal. Harshal Patel (0) was then bowled out by Bumrah, who bowled a great 18th over. With the run-chase equation reading 35 off 12 balls, Malinga came in to bowl. While Rossouw (24) greeted him with a six off the first ball, the slinger claimed his wicket off the next. Thereafter, MI ensured RCB did not spring up any more surprises and registered a famous 19-run win at their fortress.