Can MI play RCB all season long? If the Mumbai Indians approach every game as if they are playing the Royal Challengers Bangalore, they would come out on top on most of those occasions. Not that Mumbai Indians can’t win against other teams, but there is something about playing against RCB which brings out the best in them. Mumbai Indians successfully registered their first win in this year’s Indian Premier League and how! MI fans will now breathe a sigh of relief as it took them close to a week and a half to get to their first win.
Mumbai Indians took on the visiting Royal Challengers Bangalore at their fortress, Wankhede. Kohli won the toss and for the fourth time, Mumbai Indians were to bat first this IPL season. Many would have switched off their TV sets after seeing the first couple of deliveries. Umesh Yadav ‘2.0’ ran in and knocked the top of off first ball to send the in-form Suryakumar back. He brought the next ball into the left-hander and had Ishan’s woodwork disturbed. Mumbai Indians were zero for the loss of two wickets!
Out walked the captain, Rohit ‘Hitman’ Sharma at no. 4 and he had some damage control to do. Evin Lewis on the other end was looking in ominous touch and was sending the ball over the ropes all around the park. They batted for eleven overs together and added more than a hundred runs on the board. After Lewis’ departure, Rohit who had been playing second fiddle up until that point in time decided to up the ante himself. He went past his half-century in the process and that must have given him a lot of confidence. He was timing the ball sweetly and MI looked set to get a big score.
Both the KP’s fell cheaply and Hardik came in to tee off at the fag end of the innings. He made 17 from 5 and Mumbai Indians would have taken 213 on the board any day especially because of the kind of batting RCB has. Kohli and Quinny started off positively and were scoring at just about what the required rate was. McClenaghan picked up 2 wickets in the fifth over and one of them was ABD. He was holed out in the deep to a nothing delivery. Credit to Rohit Sharma for smart field setting. Wickets kept falling on one end as Kohli was stranded on the other, feeling nothing but dejected. Poor shot selection did all of them in. Mayank and Krunal were impressive with the ball yet again and they bowled well in partnership together.
The match was slowly going away from the RCB and after Sarfaraz’s wicket, it became a matter of survival more than anything else. They were looking to play out the overs without getting bowled out to salvage their net run rate which could be the deciding factor later in the tournament. In the end, RCB were 46 short of the target. Kohli was unbeaten on 92. He became the highest run-getter in the history of the IPL going past Raina during the course of his innings.
Once again, RCB which looked the stronger side on paper failed to deliver while on the field. One instantly realizes that there is too much reliance on Kohli and ABD alone. Others aren’t willing to take up the responsibility to see the team through. Not saying that they are not capable enough. Mumbai Indians would be happy looking at the way they dominated after being put under pressure initially. It would have been wonderful had Rohit gotten to his century, but his man of the match performance was all that was required to set the ball rolling for the Mumbai Indians.