VENUE: WANKHEDE STADIUM
RESULT: ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE WON BY 39 RUNS
MAN OF THE MATCH: AB DE VILLIERS
All hail the official Superman of Cricket! One can do nothing but just bow down to the awesomeness of a superhero called AB De Villiers. AB De Villiers, today, once again made it obvious that why he is said to be the best batsman on the planet. The bat in De Villiers’ hands is like a magical stick, which intimidates the opposing team. All bowlers can do is trudge back to their bowling mark, after being mystified by this conjurer.
Virat Kohli won the toss, and had no hesitation in batting first, under the baking Mumbai weather. Things began feebly for the home side as two sitters were dropped in the third over off McClaneghan’s bowling. The first one involved the brawny Jamaican, Chris Gayle. While attempting a big hit over the leg side, Gayle got a top edge. The ball went miles in the air, only to be poorly dropped by Rohit Sharma. On the very next ball, Virat Kohli advanced down the track and ended up giving a simple chance to Harbhajan, positioned at the first slip. But as fate would have it, Harbhajan made a mess of that one. A visibly livid McClaneghan could only curse his teammates in fury.
Mumbai though, made quick amends as Gayle was dismissed off a Malinga slower one. Simmons took a scorcher by literally flying and the danger man was finally gone. Little did the Mumbai Indians know that the actual mayhem was about to begin. De Villiers walked out and got off the mark on the sixth ball he faced. De Villiers’ first boundary came off Suchith, as he played a beautiful inside out lofted shot. That was just the beginning of something really special.
Soon De Villiers accelerated while Kohli was happy to assist and play the second fiddle. After being 46-1 in 7 overs, the Royal Challengers were placed at 114-1 by the end of the 12th over. De Villiers was orthodox, as well as unorthodox. His footwork against the slower bowlers was fantastic and he used the depth of the crease really well. The South African ODI captain got to his second IPL hundred in the 17th over off two consecutive sixes on the bowling of Bumrah. More than De Villiers himself, it was skipper Kohli who was beaming with bliss.
As many as 75 runs were scored from the last four overs, as Bangalore raked up 235-1 in their 20 overs.
The Mumbai Indians should have tried something out off the box to win this one. Retaining Parthiv Patel at the top made very little sense. It should have been Rohit Sharma who should have opened. The hosts never looked to go for the chase and never content by taking the ones and twos. Some brilliance by Kohli and Dinesh Karthik resulted in the run out of Parthiv Patel.
It came as a thousand volts shock as Simmons was playing the anchor’s role. When a team is chasing at almost 12 runs an over, having an innings builder hardly makes any sense. It seemed clear that the Mumbai Indians were playing in order to reduce the effect of the defeat and ensure that their net run rate wasn’t adversely affected. This could be a positive move, but nothing comes near that winning spirit.
The second innings was just a formality as batsmen came and went back. Pollard was stern though and was dismissed for 49 off 24. In the end, Simmons remained not out on 68 off 53 and the hosts scored 196-9 in their 20 overs. It was a rare off day for Mitchell Starc, as he went for over ten runs an over.
AB De Villiers was the undoubted Man of the Match. Things have got really tricky for Mumbai Indians, as they need to win both their games. Both their games are against sides, which are high on confidence. The Royal Challengers in all probability should make it to the playoffs.