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Fiery Mumbai outclass RCB

G Unnikrishnan Mumbai: May 6, 2014 DHNS 3:34 IST
Mumbai Indians Harbhajan Singh with teammates celebrates the wicket of Parthiv Patel during an IPL 7 match against Royal Challengers Bangalore in Mumbai on Tuesday. PTI Photo
The heavy duty batting of Royal Challengers Bangalore suffered a serious meltdown as Mumbai Indians notched up a 19-run win at the Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday.

After their bowlers and fielders produced an insipid show, allowing Mumbai to post a massive 187 for five in 20 overs, the Bangalore side, despite a frenetic beginning, ended at 168 for nine as Mumbai plucked wickets at regular intervals to apply constant pressure on them.

An easy chase and a collective return to form of their batting line-up seemed in store when the Royal Challengers made a bright start. It was double barrel firing at the top with Chris Gayle and Parthiv Patel targeting an innocuous-looking Mumbai new ball attack – Pavan Suyal and Jaspreet Bumrah.

Gayle showed his most fearsome side in the third over, hammering Suyal for a total of 28 runs including four boundaries and two sixes as Bangalore’s first fifty came in less than five overs. The old warhorse Harbhajan Singh brought in the first breakthrough for Mumbai, beating Parthiv’s sweep to rattle the timber.

But the wicket-keeper batsman’s dismissal didn’t bring any respite for the home side as Virat Kohli joined Gayle to sustain the bombardment. Kohli welcomed Kieron Pollard’s medium pace with a six over long-off, as Royal Challengers pushed their scorecard at a swift clip.

It required the cleverness of Harbhajan to snap the alliance as the offie sneaked a ball under the down-coming bat of Gayle to castle him for 38. Still, Royal Challengers were very much in the game with Kohli and AB de Villiers in the middle. Bumrah dropped Kohli on 33 at short fine leg off Lasith Malinga, indicating fortune’s alliance with the visitors.
But that was the last moment of cheer for Royal Challengers as De Villiers (9) and Kohli (35) departed in quick succession, in the space of two balls to be precise. From that point it was always going to be an uphill climb for them and they eventually succumbed under the weight of ever-swelling asking rate.

Earlier, Mumbai made a solid start to their innings with openers Ben Dunk and CM Gautam adding 25 runs in just over three overs. They warded off Mitchell Starc and Ashok Dinda without much difficulty. But Dunk played a tame lofted drive off Harshal Patel to Yuvraj at mid-off, and from that point Mumbai hobbled on much to the disappointment of their fans.
They also lost Ambati Rayudu and Corey Anderson during that phase, and the dismissal of Gautam, who played some top shots during his tenure, further slackened Mumbai’s progress. Usually, both Rohit Sharma and Pollard are smooth flowing batsmen. But on this day they focused more on keeping their wickets in the middle overs in the knowledge that the hosts didn’t have any more recognised batsmen down the order.

It didn’t make for pretty viewing and didn’t tingle the excitement of fans, but the approach helped Mumbai preserve wickets for a death-over charge. They were 110 for four when the final time-out of their innings was taken after the 14th over, and after the mini-break Rohit and Pollard (43) changed gears, and the often-fumbling RCB fielders also helped them. They stole 73 runs in the last six overs which had a huge effect on the final outcome.

The most breathtaking moment of the Mumbai innings came when Rohit (59 not out) carted pacer Varun Aaron for 24 runs in the 19th over, also reaching his fifty during that assault. A sequence of 6, 4, 6, 2, 6 helped Mumbai surge towards a total in the vicinity of 190. It was a tough target and the RCB batsmen flattered to deceive.

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