IPL: Mumbai subject RCB to another defeat


Rohit Sharma masterminded the regulation chase that became tight to give Mumbai Indians the lead in the standings, and put beyond doubt their qualification for the playoffs. It pushed the star-studded Royal Challengers Bangalore out of the tournament.

On a pitch that was drier than the usual Wankhede belters, Mumbai Indians batsmen kept getting out after getting in. Two big ones – Jos Buttler and Nitish Rana – fell to Pawan Negi, who firstly gave Royal Challengers something to bowl at with his 23-ball 35 and then followed up with figures of 4-0-17-2. That left Mumbai needing 65 off the last seven, with Kieron Pollard out and Krunal Pandya – who took the wicket of AB de Villiers once again – injured, but Rohit signalled a return to form with a cool chase whose feature was calculated blows. He ended up with 56 off 37 without taking any big risks as Mumbai won with one ball to spare.

Royal Challengers changed their opening combination again with Mandeep Singh coming in ahead of Travis Head. This was one of the six they had tried in 11 matches. Mumbai were missing their ace defensive bowler, Harbhajan Singh, and his replacement Karn Sharma was one whom Virat Kohli fancies the most. They also had Mitchell McClenaghan who had good numbers against Kohli, but again the big bowler Jasprit Bumrah had struggled against his India captain.

Mumbai took the risk of bowling Karn in the fourth over, and that produced Mandeep’s wicket, with a slog settling with the only man in the deep on the leg side. In the next over, Kohli showed ominous signs when he picked the near unpickable Bumrah slower ball and dropped him over cow corner for six. At the start of the next over, though, Kohli failed to pick the McClenaghan offcutter, and chipped an easy catch to midwicket. Royal Challengers 40 for 2 in the sixth over. McClenaghan to Kohli in IPL: 28 balls, 20 runs, four wickets.

De Villiers is arguably the most dangerous batsman in the world. Krunal has not even played international cricket. He made his first-class debut last year. Yet, in Twenty20 cricket, Krunal had got de Villiers out every time he batted against his team. In this match, though, de Villiers looked a million dollars from the time he cut the third and fourth balls he faced for four and six. In Krunal’s second over, de Villiers got a four and six more. The first one was a short ball, which Krunal doesn’t want, but the second was a slog-sweep against the turn, which Krunal has been making de Villiers do. In Krunal’s last over, de Villiers again pulled out the sweep for another massive six, reaching 43 off 26. The next ball, though, drifted a little bit more, and drew the edge from another attempted six.

Interestingly, in the innings break, de Villiers said he could see Rohit was looking to squeeze in a few overs of spin and didn’t want to let him do that. Did Royal Challengers over-aim here? Shane Watson’s wicket followed soon, and made it 108 for 5 in the 14th over.

Negi, though, made sure the familiar tale of Royal Challengers surrender didn’t repeat itself. He took toll of Lasith Malinga and Bumrah after picking their slower balls, taking three sixes in the 18th and 19th overs. The McClenaghan slower ball, though, got him in the last over, and controlled the late damage. What looked like 150 had rocketed up to 170 but had settled at 162 now. (ESPNCricinfo)

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