Southee arrival adds strength to RCB attack

Southee arrival adds strength to RCB attack

Royal Challengers Bangalore's Tim Southee (centre) was the pick of their bowlers against Mumbai Indians on Tuesday. PTI

Playing in just his second IPL game of the season, pacer Tim Southee led an under-fire Royal Challengers Bangalore bowling attack from the front as the hosts scripted a hard-fought 16-run win over defending champions Mumbai Indians here on Tuesday.

The Kiwi, who missed the opening six games due to injury, laid the foundation initially by crashing through the gates of an out-of-sorts Ishan Kishan in the final ball of the opening over. Procuring appreciable pace and swing from a helpful Chinnaswamy Stadium pitch, the 29-year-old then returned to bowl a brilliant second spell right at the death.

With Mumbai Indians needing 35 off 18 balls and the set Pandya brothers -- Hardik and Krunal -- in the middle, Southee brought his experience to the fore, mixing up the pace cleverly to concede a mere 5 runs. Having seen his bowlers go for plenty at that stage many times, skipper Virat Kohli must have been a relieved man to see such a tight over being bowled.

Southee also bowled a good final over where he dismissed Hardik off the first ball to cap a fine night for the RCB bowlers. The right-armer, who won the man of the match award, felt they assessed the conditions better on the day.

"I think, first thing is we scraped through to a good total on this wicket," Southee said. "And there was a little bit of assistance with swing which we haven't seen in the previous games. So we bowled well up front and we were able to take wickets which made it tough for them to gain any momentum. We bowled well and assessed the conditions really well.

"It got a little bit close towards the end. There was a bit of partnership towards the end, but we were able to keep taking wickets and it was a tough surface. So we knew if we keep taking wickets it was going to be hard for guys to come out and start."

Southee felt the last-over assault by Colin de Grandhomme where RCB hammered 24 runs -- the Kiwi scored 21 -- was the turning point in the game. "I think that last over in our batting innings was very important. It allowed us to get through to a good score on that wicket. That did give us a big boost to go out and bowl. And then the way we started with the ball. Mumbai have got a dangerous top-order and we were able to not give them even a sniff and take those early wickets. So I think those two were probably two key moments in the game."

The arrival of Southee provides a much-needed impetus to the RCB pace attack. Umesh Yadav was waging a lone battle as the likes of Chris Woakes, Kulwant Khejroliya and Mohammed Siraj struggled with their economy rates.