Mumbai: Skipper Rohit Sharma laid the foundation with a stylish half-century as Mumbai Indians romped home against Royal Challengers Bangalore by six wickets in an Indian Premier League encounter, here on Wednesday.
Chasing a target of 171, Rohit set the pace with yet another attractive knock of 62 off 44 balls, it was Kieron Pollard, who finished with a flourish hammering an unbeaten 40 off 19 balls as the home team notched up their second win in 18 overs. Jos Buttler with 28 off 14 balls also did his bit. The giant Caribbean hit four boundaries and three sixes.
This was MI’s second win in five matches. RCB have now lost two out of three matches.
It was in the 17th over bowled by Kane Richardson that saw Pollard hit two huge sixes — one down the ground and another hook shot behind square to swing it decisively in Mumbai Indians’ favour.
In the next over, Pollard hit another six off Shane Watson as the required number of runs came in single digits. He then finished the match with two successive boundaries.
Rohit was at his elegant best during the chase as he played an effortless frontfoot pull-shot off Varun Aaron to dispatch him into the stands. His second six was a Nataraja Shot where he whipped one behind backward square leg off medium pacer Harshal Patel.
While Ambati Rayudu played the second fiddle chipping away with singles and occasional boundaries, Rohit seemed to caress the ball to the boundary.
Rayudu got out just when he was getting into the groove with a couple boundaries off Harshal. He tried an ambitious slog sweep off left-arm spinner Iqbal Abdullah to be caught at deep mid-wicket boundary by Kane Richardson. Rohit-Rayudu duo added 76 in 9.1 overs for the second wicket.
Rayudu’s departure brought Jos Buttler who started by guiding Abdullah to the third man boundary.
A pulled boundary off Stuart Binny followed by a single brought up his second half-century in this edition of IPL.
Bustling with confidence, Rohit sent Abdullah into the cow corner stands followed by a thumping boundary wide of long-on. But his indiscretion cost him as he tried to hit a second six off Abdullah only to be holed out long-off.
Rohit’s 62 off 44 balls had four boundaries and three sixes.
With Mumbai Indians in a tricky position at 109 for 3, RCB skipper Virat Kohli brought back Aaron with relatively new pair of Pollard and Buttler at the crease.
In the 15th over bowled by Watson, Pollard played a pull and a hook to get a couple of boundaries while Buttler square cut the bowler. In the next over Buttler got two successive sixes before he was caught at short third-man trying a third six. But Pollard was there till the end to take his team home without much fuss.
Earlier, Royal Challengers Bangalore were unable to take full advantage of a fine start and were restricted by Mumbai Indians to 170 for 7 after being put into bat.
RCB powered their way to 49 for 1 in the first six overs and 89 for 1 after first 10 overs. But the next 10 yielded only 81 runs at the loss of six wickets.
A double strike in five balls by left-arm spinner Krunal Pandya (2/27) packed off the visiting team’s danger men captain Virat Kohli (33 in 30 balls) and AB de Villiers (29 in 21 balls). It also applied the brakes in scoring after the duo added 59 runs in 39 balls for the second wicket. Jasprit Bumrah (3/31) sent back another big hitter Shane Watson cheaply in the 14th over to stall RCB’s hopes of a huge total.
Debutant left-handed batsman Travis Head (37 off 24 balls) tried his best to up the run-rate and made 37 off 24 balls while adding 63 runs off 34 balls with Sarfaraz Khan, who made a quick 28 off 18 balls that helped RCB post a competitive score in the end.
Pandya was the pick of the MI bowlers with figures of 2 for 27 while Bumrah, who took two wickets in the last over.
Tim Southee bowled economically without taking a wicket while Mitchell McClenaghan was punished in his latter spell to end up with an expensive 1 for 46.
Mumbai Indians started the bowling proceedings against the new RCB opening combination of skipper Kohli and KL Rahul (23), given his first game of the season after RCB made six changes in the playing XI with their New Zealand pace duo of Tim Southee and Mitchell McClenaghan.
Both Kohli (33 off 30 balls) and Rahul (23 off 14), who was hit on the helmet off the first ball he faced from left arm McClenaghan, were troubled by the movement extracted off the pitch in the first two overs.
The third over was dramatic as Rahul made room by drawing away to leg to swat the short ball from McClenaghan over covers for a six and then upper cut the next one for another maximum before turning the third off his hip for a four.
But the Kiwi extracted his revenge off the next all by having the batsman, who hit 2 sixes and as many fours, caught at slip with a ball that just angled away to make it 32 for 1.
This brought in AB de Villiers to the crease and he showed his improvisation soon after Harbhajan Singh was brought on to bowl the first over after power play, at the end of which RCB were 49 for 1, by reverse-hitting the off spinner for a four.
The senior bowler then leaked 13 runs in his second over with Kohli hitting him for two fours while de Villiers contemptuously pulled Hardik Pandya for a six as RCB raced to 89 in 10 overs.
Krunal brought MI back in the game in dramatic fashion by dismissing the two set batsmen in the next over, his second. Kohli was caught on the long-off boundary while de Villers was lured out and stumped as RCB slid to 93 for 3 from 91 for 1 in five balls.
Bumrah dismissed Shane Watson in the next over with a catch at the wicket as the batsman flirted with a short, wide ball to make it 99 for 3.
The batsmen brought together by the fall of these three quick wickets, league debutant Travis Head and youngster Sarfaraz Khan.
The former made a slow start before gradually upping the ante to hammer 2 fours and as many sixes including a pulled six off McClenaghan in the penultimate over.
The diminutive Indian player gave him good support and also swung McClenaghan for a pulled four and six in the 19th over of the innings that yielded 18 runs. RCB added 47 runs in the last four overs.
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