Sublime Rohit flattens RCB

Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma plays a shot during the 2018 Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket match between Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai on April 17, 2018. AFP

With two wickets off the first two balls of the innings, one expects the bowling side to create pressure on their opponents. Courtesy Umesh Yadav, the Royal Challengers Bangalore were off to a brilliant start. But at 0/2, the shaken Mumbai Indians had their best pair in the middle--the ever-calm Rohit Sharma and Evin Lewis, the big-hitting emerging star. What the duo produced thrilled the vociferous Wankhede crowd.

Lewis struck an entertaining 65 (42b, 6x4, 5x6) while the MI skipper essayed a typically well-planned and stylish 94 (52b, 10x4, 5x6) that took Mumbai to 213/6 in 20 overs in their IPL 11 game here on Tuesday. The Challengers’ appalling bowling received the treatment it deserved.

In response, RCB either needed a strong start or a couple of good partnerships. But it wasn’t the visitors’ day, as their batsmen, barring captain Kohli, batted with no strategy to ace the chase. Mumbai put a huge step closer to victory when they got rid of AB de Villiers in the fifth over. Mitchell McClenaghan bowled a teasing short ball with a deep mid-wicket in place and de Villiers fell for the trap.

Valiant Kohli

Kohli (92, 62b, 7x4, 6x6) who essayed a gem, appeared like a soldier with no support and RCB, who were restricted to 167/8, lost the battle by 46 runs. The Challengers thus slumped to their third defeat. From four games, they have just two points. On the other hand, it was a relief for Mumbai as they opened their account following three straight defeats.

Mumbai, the defending champions, would be pleased with Rohit returning to form. The right-hander, who picked up his first four of a stylish cover drive of Umesh, timed his shots to perfection. He shifted gears once Lewis departed and cut loose after getting to his half-century. He found gaps with ease and came close to a well-deserved century.

Lewis’ counter-attacking approach dented RCB’s confidence. The southpaw was quick to pull the short balls to the stands and he swept well to the spinners. The 26-year-old, who struck a monstrous six to Yuzvendra Chahal to reach his fifty, was stopped by Corey Anderson.

Earlier, electing to bowl, RCB’s quest for a win was propelled by a two-wicket burst by Umesh (2/36) in the very first over. The right-arm pacer went through the gates of Suryakumar Yadav and castled Ishan Kishan with a ball that moved in sharply. But RCB’s joy didn’t last long and they have only themselves to blame for.

The pacers and spinners bowled short, wide and even offered full tosses to let slip a big advantage. Washington Sundar, expected to apply the brakes in the Power Play, was generous on the contrary. The off-spinner leaked 19 runs in the fourth over of the innings and Mumbai raced to 60/2 after six overs. Sundar had poor figures of 2-0-32-0 while Anderson (2/47), playing in place of Brendon McCullum, was erratic. Lewis and Rohit feasted on the over-pitched and short deliveries. Woakes (1/31) shied away from experimenting while the dependable leggie Chahal (0/32) had an off-day.

Liked the story?

  • 0

    Happy
  • 0

    Amused
  • 0

    Sad
  • 0

    Frustrated
  • 0

    Angry