RCB defeat Mumbai Indians
Friday night's victory in the 'semi-final' against Mumbai Indians showed RCB's all-round abilities and strong top order.
The diehard RCB fan was a little unsure what to say when his side after 111 for no loss after 10 overs seemed not to be able to reach the 200 mark. What she probably didn’t see was that the pitch had slowed down and was not allowing any pace off it for the batters to play the shots.
Chris Gayle set the stage alight, firing boundaries and sixes at will. To the discerning viewer, his personal score will be of numerical significance, although the contribution was a wholesome 88 runs. Importantly, he got the bulk of those runs when the ball was new and coming on reasonably well. Also, the pitch may have been slightly better to bat on early in the innings. Ex India international Vijay Bharadwaj, now RCB’s talent scout on tour opined that the pitch was always slow and it was purely the new ball that caused it to come on to the bat faster for the batsmen's liking.
Mayank Agrawal played a percentage knock in the context of Twenty 20. After all, his partner was the mercurial Gayle, their team had first strike on the surface and the initial runs had come fast- 27 off the first over and 57 for no loss after 4. There was no need to do anything rash and this youngster calmly fetched himself boundaries, including a huge six to long on off Harbhajan Singh’s first over.
The slowness of the ball, whether caused by its shine wearing out or the pitch might indeed have been in evidence when Mayank failed to clear the long on fielder who was 7 yards inside for the second time in three balls, even earning a reprieve at first. Then came Chris Gayle’s turn and again he failed to clear long on, although this time the fielder was on the fence.
Kohli fell shortly after and Luke Pomersbach was held by a 'flying' Malinga catch at flyslip. The runs had slowed down and the average fan might have felt a repeat of the times that Chris Gayle had departed in earlier matches and a mini collapse ensuing. However, that was not the gospel truth. Shot making was difficult and one might even credit AB de Villiers with the best shot of the day - He dispatched a chest high pacer's full toss for a six by a reflex hook.
The Mumbai Indians would have 185 to chase but the dismissals kept coming. AC Blizzard was held at long on by Mayank and Harbhajan Singh drafted in at number 3 was held by the ever reliable Pomersbach at deep mid wicket. Yet Tendulkar was in control and the run rate was respectable for a side chasing. Tendulkar manufactured a stroke to find 'no man’s land' at mid wicket and ran a two, almost signaling that he would dominate and even ruffle Dan Vettori’s field. It seemed there was a real contest on.
Off the next ball from Syed Mohammad, Tendulkar tried to repeat the stroke, however, this one turned and the master blaster, two yards outside his crease, was comfortably stumped although keeper AB de Villiers had to keep his wits about him. The stadium was now abuzz with RCB excitement.
Rohit Sharma was seen off by another Pomersbach catch in the outfield off Vettori’s bowling while J Franklin, who had just dispatched Zaheer Khan to the mid wicket boundary with disdain, found the Indian speedster exacting revenge by scattering his stumps the next ball. Rayudu’s leg-before dismissal off Vettori had almost sealed the match for RCB, and shortly after, Kieron Pollard’s heave caught by one-handed by A Mithun on the long off boundary gave their fans a real sense of victory.
Finally the Mumbai Indians folded up for 142 for 8 when the 20 overs were bowled. Great all-round cricket and bowling in particular by Arvind, Syed and Vettori, not to mention Zaheer’s strike had lent support to Chris Gayle’s 88 that set up the victory. RCB now eagerly await the final barely a few hours away as they take on the Chennai Super Kings.