RCB’s Wankhede hold over MI broken
Royal Challengers Bangalore's 2-0 record against the Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium was consigned to rest, the home team winning their match on Saturday night by 58 runs to make it 2-1.
Most of the games have been won by the home team this season, laying old records and momentum to waste. Mumbai too looked a different team after their recent poor run away. Rohit Sharma sprung the first surprise of the night when he chose to bat first, backing his bowlers to restrict Gayle, Virat and Co.
Sachin Tendulkar briefly dazzled, hitting a stroke laden 23 (13b 5x4) in which he brought out the inventive belligerence and perfect classical execution which make him the best batsman to watch when in flow. Dwayne Smith continued his good show with his second consecutive fifty of the tournament, adding a quick 72 with Dinesh Karthik for the second wicket. Another in-form batsman Rohit Sharma could not make an impact, run out for 10 but Karthik (43 33b 3x4 1x6) and Kieron Pollard (34 16b 2x4 3x6) made up in a 27 ball partnership for the fourth wicket that fetched Mumbai a whopping 51 runs.
With his bowlers having an off day, Virat Kohli weighed in with a couple of direct hits to restrict Mumbai to below 200. Harbhajan Singh and Mitchell Johnson swung for the stands in the lower order, guiding MI to huge 194/7 in their 20 overs.
RCB’s bowlers had been quite consistent at the M Chinnaswamy but looked out of touch at the Wankhede, no one escaping with an economy rate below 8. Unadkat came closest with his 32 from 4 overs but never recovered enough to take a wicket after his fall while delivering the ball early in his spell. RP Singh (1/40), Ravi Rampaul (1/35), Vinay Kumar (1/38) and Syed Mohammad (1/43) all had poor games, conceding way too many in the face of calculated batting from Mumbai.
With a big total on board, Mitchell Johnson and Lasith Malinga bowled a fiery spell upfront, attacking Chris Gayle and Tillakaratne Dilshan with short deliveries and in swingers at a good pace. The openers managed to keep the scorecard ticking and having survived the opening spell, went after the change bowlers. It proved to be a bad move. Dhawal Kulkarni (3/19) had enough discipline to entice Dilshan (13) to hole out to third man while Ambati Rayudu took a stunning catch at the cow corner ropes to dismiss Gayle (18 20b 2x4 1x6) off Harbhajan Singh (2/21), prompting the Punjab spinner to break into a hybrid, bhangra version of the Gangnam Style dance. RCB were 37/2 after 7 overs.
Kulkarni’s next big scalps were Virat Kohli (1) and AB de Villiers (2), both dismissed very tamely in the space of three deliveries to deal RCB’s chase a blow it would not recover from, leaving them at 43/4 in 7.4 overs.
Saurabh Tiwary (21), Arun Karthick (12) and Syed Mohammad (9) scratched around for runs but were dismissed going for big shots as the asking rate rose. Dwayne Smith (2/20) was the benefactor, picking up the wickets of Tiwary and Mohammad to add to his contributions of the day.
At 85/7 in the 14th over, it looked like RCB would even struggle to reach 100 but Vinay Kumar (26* 20b 4x4) and Ravi Rampaul (23 18b 3x4) added an unbeaten 51 for the 8th wicket, saving RCB the ignominy of being bowled out and guiding the team to 136/7 at the end of the 20 overs.
This was the first of six away matches that RCB play on the trot. If RCB are to prove their credentials to win the tournament this year, they really need to figure out a combination that will help them win away from home as well. The game against Mumbai was a wake up call and it is up to Virat to make changes to acknowledge that.