The Task was cut out. Mumbai Indians were given a target of 171 runs by the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the 15th match of the Indian Premier League season 9. Which they managed to chase down with 6 wickets in hand and 2 overs to spare. A fine knock of 62 by Rohit Sharma, along with good contributions from Kieron Pollard (40*), Ambati Rayudu (31) and Jos Buttler (28) helped Mumbai Indians register their first victory at home in the 2016 edition of Indian Premier League (IPL).
All said and sone, The chase did not actually start on the right note for Mumbai Indians as the opening partnership, for the fourth time in five games, did not go beyond single digit numeric. Debutant Kane Richardson picked up a wicket off his first ball in the IPL when Parthiv Patel got a thick edge that ballooned to point, where de Villiers juggled sideways before holding on to the ball.
It was not as quick a start as Mumbai would have hoped for. Runs came via overthrows and thick edges as the batsmen were living dangerously. However, the batsmen did make sure to capitalise on the loose deliveries and showed some clever wrist work as they gave the team some much-needed impetus. Aaron’s 19-run over, in which he was hit for a six and two fours, gave Mumbai the thrust they needed in the chase as the hosts crossed 50 by the end of the powerplay, following which the second-wicket pair raised a half-century stand off 35 deliveries.
Shane Watson and Iqbal Abdulla bowled a couple of tight overs, but the Mumbai batsmen managed to ease the pressure when Rayudu scored two boundaries in succession off Harshal Patel, who was having an expensive outing. Royal Challengers needed to break the partnership and they managed to do that when Rayudu hit an Abdulla delivery straight to Richardson at deep mid-wicket to depart for 31, ending a stand worth 76 runs. Rohit then brought up his fifty off 38 balls and took Mumbai past 100 with a six off Abdulla in the 13th over. Rohit scored another four off the left-arm spinner, but his outing came to an end in the same over when he mistimed one to give de Villiers a catch at long-off.
Mumbai needed 56 off the last six overs and they managed to bring down the equation to 43 off 30 balls thanks to Pollard and Buttler, who took the attack to Watson in the 15th over. Buttler then scored two back-to-back sixes off Abdulla, but in his attempt to find a third in as many deliveries, the English batsman handed a catch to Watson at short third-man. The wicket did little to trouble Mumbai’s march towards the target as Pollard blasted two consecutive sixes off Richardson in the 17th over to bring it down to 14 off 18. It was all over in the 18th over when Pollard smashed a six and two fours to help Mumbai win with two overs to spare.
Earlier, the Royal Challengers, who were asked to bat first, made as many as six changes for the game. Travis Head and Richardson made their IPL debuts while KL Rahul, Aaron, Abdulla and Stuart Binny were the other inclusions. For Mumbai, Pollard, who had recovered from a bout of food poisoning, replaced Martin Guptill. Right from the start of the innings, Mumbai’s opening bowlers meant business. While Kohli was beaten all ends up by Tim Southee, who was moving the ball both ways, Mitchell McClenaghan started with a bouncer that struck Rahul on the helmet. Southee swung the ball well while his New Zealand pace-bowling colleague kept things on the shorter side and troubled the batsmen with his pace and bounce. It took until the 15th ball of the innings for Royal Challengers to find their first boundary when Kohli clipped a Southee delivery over the infield to the backward square-leg fence.
Rahul got his first four via a top-edge off Southee, that travelled to the third-man fence. However, he was pretty much in control of the shots when he deposited a McClenaghan delivery off the back-foot over the cover fence for the first maximum, and followed it up by guiding a short one over the keeper’s head for a six and then beat the short fine-leg for another four. McClenaghan though, had the last laugh as he got Rahul (23) to nick one to Harbhajan Singh at first slip.
Things were looking ominous for Mumbai Indians when Kohli and de Villiers continued from where they left off in the previous game, dealing in regular hits to the fence to bring up a half-century stand off 35 balls, the third fifty-plus partnership for the pair in as many games. However, they could not make it three century stands on the trot as Kohli, looking to power a Krunal Pandya delivery over the fence in the 11th over, found Southee at long-off to depart for a 30-ball 33. If Krunal’s joy was palpable after Kohli’s dismissal, it reached its crescendo when he had de Villiers (29) out stumped in the same over.
Head and Sarfaraz provided the much-needed acceleration to Royal Challengers’ innings as they put on a half-century stand off 30 deliveries and took the total past the 150-mark in the penultimate over. From 123 for 4 after 16 overs, Head and Sarfaraz scored 38 runs in the next three overs, which included an 18-run over from McClenaghan. However, the fifth-wicket stand, worth 63 off 34, came to an end in the final over when Head was run out for 37 off 24. Sarfaraz, who managed a maximum off Bumrah in the last over, got out for 28 while Binny was on his way back soon after. Richardson, who took a single off the final delivery, ensured that Bumrah did not pick up a hat-trick as Royal Challengers finished with what seemed like a competitive total.
Mumbai after this outing ended up at 4th position on the table while Rcb slipped down to Number 6 in the Points table..!