MI prevail with 5 wicket win
The Mumbai Indians edged the Royal Challengers Bangalore by 5 wickets in a tense finish at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Monday evening.
Ambati Rayudu (81*) and Kieron Pollard (52*) helped MI put behind their poor start to undo the sensational innings Mayank Agarwal (61*) had posted for RCB earlier in the day.
Chris Gayle hit a six and then inside edged a ball to his stumps when the game finally began after rain interruptions. Virat Kohli was run out after a mix up and a stumble and soon RCB were 11/2. A 10 ball 6th over from Munaf with four consecutive free hits saw the pressure lift temporarily. Promoted to no. 4, Saurabh Tiwary (21) showed signs of a great knock when he did himself in with a hit wicket dismissal. Just when RCB were beginning to launch an offensive, AB de Villiers (14) was done in by a slower ball from Malinga, the score 87/4 in 11.3 overs.
All the while Tillakaratne Dilshan anchored the innings at the other end but found it hard to break free. Mayank Agarwal made sure he didn’t give away his wicket and helped take the pressure off Sri Lankan but a missed full toss saw Dilshan being bowled with RCB on 133/5 in the 17th over. Agarwal though took RCB to 171/6 with a dazzling counter-attack, reading and playing Malinga beautifully to take 13 off the penultimate over.
The next over saw Munaf Patel being carted all over the ground as Mayank brought up his 50 off just 26 balls. He picked his gaps brilliantly and struck the ball powerfully when he could, hitting two 6s and two 4s off the over, taking 24 off it to take RCB to 171/6, at least 20 more than what they would have settled for two overs ago.
In the fourth over of the chase, MI were reduced to 19/3 with Sachin Tendulkar, Herschelle Gibbs and Rohit Sharma back in the hut. Tendulkar drove Zaheer Khan straight into the hands of Kohli off the first ball he faced, Gibbs was beaten by a superb throw from KP Appanna in the deep while and run out going for a 3rd run and Vinay Kumar hung on to a hard hit return catch from Rohit Sharma.
Muttiah Muralitharan and Harshal Patel removed Dinesh Karthik and Dwayne Smith in the 8th and 9th over respectively as MI were reduced to 51/5. Rayudu and Pollard however signaled their intention by hitting 19 off Appanna when he was introduced. A failure in one of the light towers held up play for a good 15 minutes and gave them time to strategize. Gayle replaced Appanna and was promptly hit for 25 in his two overs while Murali finished with 1/16 at the other end.
With 57 needed off 4 overs, Zaheer and Vinay returned but couldn’t get the yorkers right. Rayudu, already on 50 by the time seized his opportunity and used the depth of the crease to convert yorkers into full tosses to take 34 off overs 17 and 18. Zaheer was better in the 19th over but unluckily had an edge run away to third man boundary.
Chris Gayle returned to bowl the 20th over with 14 to defend but Pollard had no problem putting him away for a six and two fours, bringing up his 50 and the winning runs for Mumbai Indians.
The loss considerably toughens RCB’s path to the playoffs but it is still possible given that they catch up on NRR. Luck may also be needed with other results but they will be best placed to make use of it only if they win their two remaining fixtures, both away against DD and DC.