Mumbai punish erring RCB

Mumbai punish erring RCB

Challengers' batting implodes again after good start as hosts romp home

Mumbai punish erring RCB

Struggling for form and aiming to find the right combination ahead of this encounter, defending champions Mumbai Indians showed signs of their strength with a convincing six-wicket victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore here at the Wankhede Stadium on Wednesday.

Krunal Pandya’s brilliant bowling performance of 2/27 in four overs supported well by some fine fielding throughout the innings saw Mumbai restrict RCB to a par 170/7 in 20 overs.

The experience of skipper Rohit Sharma (62) and Ambati Rayudu (31) then took the home side to their second victory of the tournament, with their 76-run alliance for the second wicket proving to be too good for the Bengaluru outfit.

RCB tried hard to come back into the contest with Iqbal Abdullah removing the well set Rayudu and Rohit to leave the Mumbai middle-order with the task of 62 runs in seven overs. The dangerous Pollard played the finisher's role to perfection and played an entertaining 39-run knock off 19 balls, hitting a flurry of boundaries on both sides of the wicket, to take Mumbai home.

Mumbai clicked as an unit for the first time in the tournament to leapfrog to fourth position while RCB slumped to sixth place in the table. RCB made a major reshuffle to their playing 11, effecting as many as six changes.

Australian emerging batsman Travis Head was included in place of Chris Gayle while the off-colour wicketkeeper-batsman Kedar Jadhav made way for KL Rahul. Kane Richardson, Iqball Abdullah and Stuart Binny also came into the side at the expense of Yuzvendra Chahal, Parvez Rasool and David Wiese.

Earlier, At 32/1 in the fourth over, once again the onus fell on skipper Kohli and the vastly experienced AB de Villiers to produce the onslaught for RCB and the duo stepped up for the third straight time, scripting a breezy 59-run partnership.

While Kohli essayed a calculative knock of 33, de Villiers looked to attack right from the start. The explosive right-handed batsman brought up the 50-run partnership with a mighty six over mid-wicket off Hardik Pandya. After guiding RCB to 89/1 in 10 overs, Kohli and de Villiers looked set to unleash another mighty onslaught but Krunal’s brilliance in the 11th over of the innings, where he sent back both the batsmen, tilted the game into Mumbai’s favour.

Kohli danced down the track and attempted a big shot to a tossed up delivery off Krunal but failed to clear Tim Southee at long off. Three balls later, Krunal bagged the big scalp of de Villiers, who was out stumped while attempting a heave over covers to reduce RCB to 93/3 after 11 overs.

Hit by the twin blows, RCB suffered a meltdown, with the next three overs producing just five runs. Mumbai took further control when they saw the back of Shane Watson in the 14th over but thanks to a late blitz from Head and Sarfaraz Khan, RCB recovered from a tough situation. Unleashing some powerful hitting, the duo forged an alliance of 63 runs off 34 balls to take RCB to what at that stage appeared a competitive total.

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