Ambati Rayudu’s 44 and a crucial 55-run partnership between Kieron Pollard and Jos Buttler help Mumbai Indians thump Royal Challengers Bangalore by six wickets
Bangalore: Mumbai Indians made somewhat heavy weather of a simple chase but eventually won with eight balls to spare at the Chinnaswamy Stadium last night.
Needing to make 152 at 7.60 an over, the defending champions rode on an enterprising, anchoring knock from Ambati Rayudu to live to fight another night.
Mumbai Indians batsman Kieron Pollard plays a shot during the 2016 IPL match vs Royal Challengers Bangalore at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore on Wednesday. Pic/AFP
For hosts Royal Challengers Bangalore, who saw all their big guns Virat Kohli, the returning Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers fail, the less fancied KL Rahul played a lone hand but to no avail in the end.
Ironically, both sides were 60 for 2 at the halfway stages of their respective innings but then knowing the final target seems so much of an advantage these days.
Also Rayudu (44, 47b, 2x4, 2x6) showed an ability to strike big with the bat whenever the RCB bowlers started to string together some good deliveries and that made all the difference. He fell to an outstanding catch by De Villiers a little after Stuart Binny sent back IPL debutant Nitish Rana with a brilliant effort off his own but with Kieron Pollard and Jos Buttler around, Mumbai carried too many guns.
Pollard (35 not out, 19b, 3x4, 2x6) and Butler (29 not out, 11b, 1x4, 3x6) had to get as many as 54 from the final 4.5 overs of the game but some typically lusty blows from the duo did the trick.
Earlier, being demoted for contributing heavily in the matches gone by didn’t deter Rahul. Neither did the disappearance one by one of the batting stars who came in before and after him. The young man had a job to do and despite pulling a muscle during his tenure at the wicket, he did it well, to give RCB a semblance of a chance.
That he chose Mitchell McClenaghan and Jasprit Bumrah, MI’s otherwise very impressive pacers, for special treatment showed Rahul’s strong temperament.
His partner for the fifth wicket, Sachin Baby, batting in the presence of the original Sachin in the dugout, too played his part, clobbering Kieron Pollard for two maximums after Rahul had smashed one of his own.
What Pollard was doing bowling the 18th over, why he was covering for Harbhajan Singh, who had given a mere 19 from his three overs is something only Rohit can answer. For what happened was RCB took 22 runs off that over while also regaining some momentum. It wasn’t quite enough though, not for the power-packed MI.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: 151/4 in 20 overs (Lokesh Rahul 68 not out, Sachin Baby 25 not out; Hardik Pandya 1/15).
Mumbai Indians: 153 for 4 in 18.4 overs (Ambati Rayudu 44, Kieron Pollard 35 not out; Varun Aaron 2/37).
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