Royal Challengers Bangalore’s bowling unit triggered a middle-order collapse before Anuj Rawat and Virat Kohli timed a moderate chase to perfection as the men in red and black piled on Mumbai Indians’ misery with a convincing win.
The collapse in the middle overs – with MI losing four wickets for two runs in 10 balls – had pegged Mumbai Indians back so much that Suryakumar Yadav’s assault could only lead Mumbai Indians to 151 for six, well short of par, at the Maharashtra Cricket Association’s International Stadium in Pune on Sunday.
With a 20,000-strong crowd supporting Kohli and Co. more than the struggling MI, opener Rawat flourished with Kohli at his prime at the other end. Their 80-run association for the second wicket virtually sealed the deal for the Royal Challengers.
At the halfway stage, RCB was 61 for one, just one run ahead of MI’s 62 for four. However, the additional wickets that RCB picked turned out to be the difference. Had Dewald Brevis, the only other overseas player in MI’s team besides Kieron Pollard, not made a mess of a regulation chance at deep midwicket when RCB required 50 off 36, MI may still have been in the game.
From thereon, once Kohli won the mini-battle against Jasprit Bumrah, who went wicketless, the chase was always in control. Despite Rawat being run out, thanks to debutant Ramandeep Singh’s exceptional direct hit, Kohli and Dinesh Karthik avoided a tense finish. Once Kohli perished to Brevis’ legspin with eight runs required, Glenn Maxwell – who had marked his first outing of the season with an acrobatic run-out early on – finished the proceedings with successive fours in the penultimate over.
The win meant RCB rose to third in the points table while Mumbai Indians joined Chennai Super Kings to remain winless in four games.
Had MI avoided the collapse, it could have hoped to set a competitive target. Rohit looked in great touch in the PowerPlay after being inserted. Once MI had raced to 49 for no loss in the PowerPlay, Harshal Patel did the trick off his second ball. Rohit couldn’t read an off-cutter and offered a sharp return catch to the bowler.
If that didn’t set MI back, the 10 balls between the eighth and 10th overs swung the pendulum firmly in RCB’s favour, which picked four wickets for just two runs in a mini-interval to leave MI reeling at 62 for five from 60 for one.
Suryakumar’s blinder then gave Mumbai a distant ray of hope. That’s all it remained in the end, with RCB finishing the game in style.