Tuesday night witnessed an encounter between two teams who desperately want to climb up the table. A win would have propelled one of them up amongst being the top contenders for the fourth spot. A loss would have made the climb all the steeper. Mumbai Indians were playing against the Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Chinnaswamy stadium. A lot was at stake for both the teams and they would have wanted to put the best foot forward going into this match.
Mumbai Indians won the toss and opted to field first. They have a good record against RCB and were the favorites to win this match as well. Mumbai Indians had to leave out Ewin Lewis as he tended to a minor injury and Pollard was brought in. ABD had not recovered fully yet and missed the second game on the trot. There was a change in the top order for the RCB. Quinny opened the innings with Manan Vohra last night. Vohra is much more effective in the top order and he proved his captain right. Quinton de Kock found it hard to put bat on ball and struggled during every bit of his stay in the middle. He got out to Mitch, courtesy some terrific fielding in the inner ring by Rohit. He took a good low catch to dismiss de Kock. Vohra took Duminy to the cleaners when he came on to bowl his second over in the powerplay. Markande, however, had him trapped in front of the stumps and he had to make the long walk back.
Kohli and McCullum built on the foundation set by Vohra but couldn’t get going as one would have liked them to. McCullum tried to steal a single but a direct hit from Hardik cut short his innings. Mumbai Indians bowled pretty well in the death overs. Hardik picked up 3 wickets in the 18th over and that pulled things very much in MI’s favor. Bumrah was clever with his variations. He was bowling slower balls at length and the batsmen were finding it difficult to read him. Oftentimes, the spirit inside the dressing room is dictated by how good or bad the last over is (for the team). MI did all the hard work in the final overs and they would have loved to finish the innings on a good note. McClenaghan bowled an expensive over and that lifted RCB’s score to 167 at the end of twenty overs. The home team had the momentum with them going into the second innings.
Suryakumar walked out with Ishan to open the innings for the Mumbai Indians. Ishan got out for a golden duck. He charged Southee who got him out bowled on the last ball of the first over. That was not the start MI were looking for. Duminy came in at no. 3 to face the music. Umesh was brilliant in the opening spell, giving very little away. He has been terrific for the RCB in the powerplay overs. He got the wickets of Suryakumar and Rohit off successive deliveries and immediately put the Mumbai Indians on the back foot. Suryakumar had himself to blame for, he was looking to flick the ball on the leg side but found no part of the bat hitting the ball. He was out leg before and Rohit, well he got a beauty first up and he really couldn’t do anything about it.
Pollard joined Duminy and they had their task cut out. There was some turn in the offing for the spinners and the ball was gripping the surface well. Chahal turned them square. Even the left-hander found it difficult to tackle. Chahal would be disappointed as he returned wicket-less form last night’s match. Pollard didn’t contribute much to the team’s cause and got out in a rather silly fashion. Hardik and Duminy looked good in the middle and would have taken MI home if it were not for Umesh’s throw that found Duminy short of his crease while completing the second run. The Pandya brothers took the game deep but quality death bowling kept boundaries at bay.
Bowlers won RCB the match. They were very disciplined in the death overs and didn’t allow the batsmen to free their arms. RCB won the game by 14 runs and with 6 points in the kitty, are sitting pretty at the 5th position. Mumbai Indians need to win every game from now on to lay claims for a place in the playoffs. It has been that kind of a season for the Mumbai Indians. They’ll have to play out of their skins to win all of their remaining games. This side has got what it takes but it is just a matter of executing the skills out in the middle. I am sure they would make amends soon and get back to winning ways.