The much-awaited encounter between Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore ended with Mumbai Indias winning by four wickets. Played on a slow pitch, this low scoring match gave us an intriguing and high-quality battle between bat and ball.
This match will be remembered for several reasons. From Kohli’s magnificent comeback to Badree’s sensational hat-trick, there were plenty of interesting moments in this game. We take a look at the top five talking points from this match.
#1 The run machine is back!
Facing his only sixth ball of the day, Kohli stepped down and lofted a length ball over long-on for a six. This was not done against a spinner. This was Tim Southee, one of the top swing bowlers in the world.
One ball later, Kohli smashed the same bowler to midwicket boundary, courtesy of an authoritative pull shot. And this was not done to a ball close to his body; the shot was played against a delivery that was wide of off stump.
This magnificent batting display continued till the 16th over and watching this stroke play it was hard to believe that the batsman hadn’t played professional cricket in the last 23 days. King Kohli batted the way he has been batting in the last one year and there were no signs of his past injury.
RCB will be relieved to see their captain make a strong comeback after the shoulder injury and this has certainly given other teams in IPL a headache.
#2 Anti-climax at the end of RCB’s innings
After 15 overs, RCB were looking set for a late flourish. They had 110 runs on the board for the loss of only one wicket and the dangerous duo of Kohli and ABD was at the crease.
By smashing Bumrah for 19 runs in the 14th over, Kohli and ABD regained the momentum and the Chinnaswamy was expecting a barrage of boundaries in the death overs.
However, the 16th over saw Kohli hitting the ball straight in the hands of Jos Buttler and in the next over, Rohit Sharma pulled off a sensational one-handed diving catch to send back AB de Villiers.
The twin blows derailed RCB’s batting and then Jadhav added to the misery by getting himself run out. Mumbai tightened the noose by strangling Negi at one end and getting Mandeep out on a golden duck.
These quick wickets and some outstanding bowling by Mumbai Indians ensured that RCB managed only 32 runs in the last five overs. The fact that no boundaries were scored during the last 32 balls of the innings hurt RCB a lot.
#3 Badree, you beauty!
Playing his first game of the season, Samuel Badree couldn’t have asked for a better start. Defending a low total, the pressure was on the Caribbean leg spinner when he opened the bowling for RCB.
But after a tidy first over, Badree got Parthiv Patel out on a googly and then was a tad lucky as McClenaghan smashed the juicy full-toss straight to Mandeep Singh at long-on.
For the hat-trick ball, Badree once again relied on his ace weapon, the googly, which shattered Rohit Sharma’s defense and dismantled the stumps.
Three balls, three wickets, and Samuel Badree had created havoc at the Chinnaswamy. From seven for one, Mumbai Indians had slumped to eight for four and the target of 142 looked way bigger than what it was supposed to be.
#4 Pollard the rescuer
In ideal conditions, Kieron Pollard comes to bat after 12 overs and then tonks a few big hits to finish the innings on a high note. This is what the West Indian’s job profile says.
But today he was thrown a new challenge as Samuel Badree reduced Mumbai to 7 for 4. Pollard was at the crease to face the 16th ball of the innings and surely this was not where he could’ve played his natural game.
However, Pollard rose to the occasion and applied himself beautifully on a slow pitch. He showed positive intent by stepping down the track on his first ball and later negotiated the threat of Badree calmly.
Pollard also helped Krunal Pandya by offering him concrete advice and together they added 93 runs which proved to be the match-winning effort. Throughout his career, Pollard has played some terrific cameos but this quiet yet composed inning of 70 runs will rank among his bests.
#5 Krunal Pandya, Mumbai’s go-to man
It seems that in Krunal Pandya, Mumbai Indians have found their ideal ‘go to man’. Against KKR, when Gambhir and Lynn got off to a flying start, Krunal picked the big wickets of Gambhir and Uthappa in one over and ended up putting brakes on KKR’s scoring rate.
In the next game, Mumbai found themselves struggling while chasing a stiff target of 159 against SRH. But once again, Krunal Pandya smashed 37 runs from 20 balls and brought Mumbai closer to the victory.
Krunal again walked in to bat in a tight situation. Chasing 143 on a dry surface, Mumbai were tottering at 33 for 5. Krunal curbed his natural instincts and offered able support to Pollard.
He played second fiddle to Pollard in the crucial sixth wicket partnership and steered Mumbai home. This mature batting display by Krunal Pandya is certainly a huge gain for Mumbai in this season.