Mumbai Indians scripted a back-from-the-dead 5-wicket win over Royal Challengers thanks to some inspired batting by Ambati Rayudu and Kieron Pollard here today.
Mumbai was out for the count for all purposes by the ninth over witjh half the side back in the dressing room. Even the most ardent of Mumbai Indians supporters had given up after the side collapsed to 51 for 5 in 8.5 overs. But Rayudu and Pollard never-say-die attitude meant the game was far from over. The duo's swashbucklings knocks and their unbroken 122-run sixth-wicket partnership ultimately saw Mumbai overhaul the stiff 172-run target with a couple of balls to spare.
Rayudu smashed an unbeaten 81 off 54 balls while Pollard remained not out on 52 off 31.
Pollard smashed Gayle for a six and two fours to seal the match for Mumbai and keep their chances of qualifying for the playoffs alive. Pollard and Rayudu hit nine runs in the penultimate over off Zaheer, leaving Mumbai to score 14 in last over.
The nightmare of not getting good starts haunted MI yet again when they lost three early wickets by the fourth over.
MI started poorly losing Sachin Tendulkar for a first- ball duck. Zaheer Khan, who seems to be peaking at the right time for RCB, had the batsman caught by Virat Kohli at short cover point. The visitors then lost Herchelle Gibbs for two after KP Appanna fired in a superb throw at the bowler's end where Tiwary did the rest.
MI were in trouble with the scorecard reading seven for two at the end of the second over. Mumbai wicketkeeper batsman Dinesh Karthik showed early signs of aggression as he carted Zaheer over backward square leg for a boundary and then worked him between the midwicket and mid on for another four. But Rohit Sharma's dismissal only made things worse for MI.
After the end of seventh over, Mumbai needed 132 runs off 78 balls at 10.15 per over. Pollard and Rayudu targeted left-arm spinner Appanna in the eleventh over by clobbering him for 19 runs. Pollard thrashed Appanna for two consecutive sixes, taking Mumbai to 75 for five at the end of the over.
The start of match was delayed by 50 minutes due to rain and later at about 8 pm, play was stopped again for nearly seven minutes as one of the flood lights stopped working.
Rayudu then upped the ante by clobbering a six and a four off Gayle. Rayudu got to his fifty with a cracking straight drive, keeping the Mumbai Indians in the hunt, before Pollard joined him in the onslaught. Rayudu and Pollard provided the impetus in the 17th over, first smacking Zaheer for a six and then driving one back past the bowler for a four.
Zaheer conceded 16 runs in his third over, leaving Mumbai Indians to score 41 runs off 18 balls. Rayudu took R Vinay Kumar to the cleaners, bludgeoning him for 16 runs, before Pollard finished the show in style.
Earlier, Mayank Agarwal produced a blistering 30-ball 64 at a crucial juncture to power Royal Challengers Bangalore to a challenging 171 for six.
Mayank smashed Munaf Patel for 24 runs in the innings' last over, which included two sixes and as many fours. In all, he hit six fours and four sixes after the hosts lost most of their big guns, including Chris Gayle and A B de Villiers cheaply.
Mayank came out to bat when RCB were precariously placed, having lost four wickets with less than 100 on the board. At the start however, Munaf did not disappoint captain Harbhajan Singh who hoped to get early wickets by exploiting a slightly greenish pitch, as he struck two crucial blows for Mumbai Indians, dismissing Gayle for just six and running out host captain Virat Kohli for three.
In his first over Lasith Malinga almost had Saurabh Tiwary caught at deep extra cover but fortunately for the batsman, the ball landed safely between two fielders. Tiwary helped Bangalore recover from a poor start before being dismissed for 21.
Suddenly, the hosts were in trouble at 47 for three by the seventh over. After losing three wickets, Dilshan and AB de Villiers were involved in a 40-run partnership in 29 balls before Kieron Pollard removed the South African wicketkeeper-batsman for 14.
However, RP put an end to the 46-run stand for the fifth wicket by bowling out the Sri Lankan opener for 47 (50 balls 4x4 and 6x1) in the 17th over.
Agarwal then took Malinga to the cleaners, collecting 13 runs in the penultimate over. He smashed back-to-back four and a six to take the total to 147 without further inroads. Agarwal brought up RCB's 150 in Munaf's first ball after he whacked him for a handsome six.
Earlier in the innings, after Harbhajan opted to field, Munaf bowled a nine-ball over as he delivered three no balls and conceded 21 runs. Tiwary made the most of it by first hammering the Mumbai pacer for a four and a six over midwicket. Opener Dilshan too slapped one through the extra-cover region.
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