Lasith Malinga and Hardik Pandya hand RCB their seventh defeat
Mumbai Indians 172 for 5 (De Kock 40, Hardik 37*, Moeen 2-18) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 171 for 7 (De Villiers 75, Moeen 50, Malinga 4-31) by five wickets. AB de Villiers hit a 51-ball 75. Moeen Ali struck five sixes in his 50 off 32 and then took 2 for 18 from his four overs. Yuzvendra Chahal took 2 for 27 as well, but the rest of Royal Challengers Bangalore were being their typical Royal Challengers Bangalore selves. Despite having been nicely set up for the death overs by de Villiers and Moeen’s 95-run third-wicket stand, Royal Challengers lost five wickets for 27 runs in the last three overs – only de Villiers managing to find the boundary through that crucial stage of the innings.
After they had hobbled to an underwhelming 171 for 7, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini and Mohammad Siraj proceeded to all concede runs at over 10 an over, giving Rohit Sharma and Quinton de Kock a dream start to the chase. No one in the Mumbai Indians side made a half-century, but – apart from perhaps Krunal Pandya – they all also made significant contributions. Rohit’s breakneck partnership with de Kock, which propelled the team to 70 in the first 7.1 overs was a definitive period in the game, but Hardik Pandya’s two sixes and two fours off Pawan Negi – who bowled the 19th over of the innings – sealed the match, from what was a slightly tricky situation.
With the ball, Lasith Malinga was modest against de Villiers, but took a stellar 4 for 31 anyway, prospering against every other batsman he bowled to. Jasprit Bumrah, meanwhile, muzzled de Villiers but did not take any wickets, conceding just 22 runs from his four overs. Hardik’s 1 for 21 from three overs also helped keep Royal Challengers quiet through the middle overs.
Royal Challengers’ 171 was never a great score, but it seemed like a half-decent one until de Kock and Rohit made their charge. De Kock began the salvo, cracking two fours off the first over, bowled by Umesh Yadav. Umesh’s next over was even more expensive – 16 runs coming from it, but none of the seamers escaped, really. The second over, bowled by Saini, went for 11, before Saini’s next over – the sixth of the innings – was hit for 13. By the time Mumbai’s opening pair were parted, they had made 70 off 43 balls and put their side well on track for victory. There would be a middle-order stutter for Mumbai, but the pace at which their openers had set off had granted the team a little room for error.
Royal Challengers went into the last four overs of the innings with 136 for 2 on the board, and two set batsmen at the crease. They should absolutely murder it from there, right? Only, they ran into two of the best death-overs operators in the game. First, Bumrah conceded only eight runs in the 17th over – once hitting de Villiers in the helmet with a bouncer. Malinga then had Moeen caught at deep square leg with a slower ball. Four balls later, Malinga had Marcus Stoinis popping a leading edge to cover. Bumrah’s next over went for 10, then Malinga finished strong, having two batsmen caught off slower balls, to concede just seven off that over (there were also two byes). Giving away just 33 from the last four overs, these two had foiled another late-overs surge.
Thanks to a mini-collapse in the Mumbai middle order, Royal Challengers had a chance going into the final two overs, in which they had to defend 21 runs off 12 balls. Left-arm spinner Negi was thrown the ball, but although he began nicely, delivering a big-turning dot ball, Pandya’s excellent hitting capabilities soon manifested. He hit the second ball of the over for a massive six, then hit two consecutive fours – one of them a bullet to the extra cover boundary.
No batsman seems to take Malinga apart in the IPL as much as de Villiers. Malinga has bowled 59 balls to him through the course of the league, with de Villiers plundering 109 runs off them. Never has Malinga dismissed de Villiers. Today, the trend did not change. De Villiers reaped 23 runs off the eight balls he faced from Malinga. Against the rest of the batsmen, though, he took four wickets, and gave away only eight runs from 16 balls.