Bangalore, April 5 (IANS) Seamer Vinay Kumar took two wickets off as many deliveries in the 20th over as Royal Challengers Bangalore snatched a thrilling two-run win over Mumbai Indians in their opening Indian Premier League T20 fixture here Thursday.
Bowling the 20th over with Mumbai Indians needing 10 runs, Vinay Kumar dismissed Dinesh Karthik (60, 37b, 3x4, 4x6) and Ambatti Rayudu (18) off the second and third balls, but more crucially gave away only six runs off the next three to fashion RCB's maiden win at home against the visitors.
Earlier, it was yet again opener "Man of the Match" Chris Gayle (92 not out, 58b, 11x4, 5x6) who held the RCB innings together and helped the home team put up 156 for five, a total that nearly proved insufficient as Mumbai Indians came within a stroke of winning before finishing on 154 for five.
The match provided considerable drama as 19-year old seamer and debutant Jasprit Bumrah picked up three wickets after being hit for three boundaries in his first over, while Gayle played a lone hand for RCB despite suffering an injury early in his innings while Vinay Kumar gave a final twist to the game.
Dinesh Karthik's cameo all but overshadowed Gayle's typically explosive innings, as he took Mumbai close to the winning post by smashing 24 off Daniel Christian's over, the 17th of the innings, but eventually, it was Vinay Kumar's inspired spell that carried RCB home.
RCB skipper Virat Kohli was all praise for Gayle and his bowlers.
"We lost a few wickets early when the ball was doing a bit, but managed to put up a decent total. We also bowled and fielded well.
"As for Gayle, yes, he is our impact player and hats off to him. We hope he carries on the same way for the rest of the tournament," Kohli said.
A disappointed Mumbai Indians captain Ricky Ponting said: "We did well and should have got through, but we fell a bit behind at the half-way mark. Our bowling was a bit behind too and these are the areas we need to work on."
Mumbai began the chase steadily with modern-day icons Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar putting together a 52-run partnership with risk-free batting.
Ponting was the aggressive of the two, even stepping out to seamers while Tendulkar looked to be in better touch that was reflected in a few classic boundary hits.
Even as the pair looked set to step up the scoring rate, Tendulkar was run out after being sent back by Ponting who himself was stumped soon after as left-arm spinner Murali Karthik ruled him out of the crease.
Not long after, Rohit Sharma (11) lost his off-stump to Vinay Kumar, attempting a wild slog and Mumbai though losing just three wickets, could not accelerate, until Karthik, in the company of Rayudu stepped on the pedal with some thrilling hits.
Earlier, the RCB innings was a curious mixture of the sublime and the mediocre with first Kohli and then Gayle providing all the fireworks to take the hosts to a decent total.
Aussie quick Mitchell Johnson, enjoying some movement, removed opener Tillkaratne Dilshan (0) in the third over before Kohli fed on some poor bowling by Bumrah who was hit for three boundaries off his first four deliveries.
A brief stoppage to sprinkle sawdust in the bowler's foot landing area seemed to have helped Bumrah to regain his bearings and off the very first delivery on resumption, trapped Kohli plumb in front and in the very next over, had Mayank Agarwal (1) caught at mid-off by Tendulkar.
At the other end, Harbhajan foxed Daniel Christian (4) into holing out to Johnson at deep mid-wicket to reduce RCB to 80 for five in the 13th over.
Meanwhile, Gayle hurt his knee after tangling with Harbhajan who dived for a return catch and caused the huge West Indian to fall heavily. Virtually on one leg, Gayle nevertheless did what he is good at - hitting fours and sixes.
Runs flowed from Gayle while the crafty Karthik (19 not out) lent able support as the pair added 76 runs for the unfinished sixth wicket even as the Mumbai bowlers wilted under the Jamaican's onslaught that fetched RCB 97 runs in the last 10 overs.