SK Flashback: MI steal a win amidst Pollard-Starc's fiery battle
The same old problem within the RCB batting unit gifted a win to MI.
The sight of a bowler chucking a ball at his batsman and a batsman flinging his bat at his bowler was limited to street cricket until Mitchell Starc and Kieron Pollard took over. The fervent banter between the two international players is probably one of the most unforgettable moments in the IPL that had a lot to offer in its 11-season long tenure.
The backdrop of the match
It was the first match in India for both the teams after the UAE leg of the season. While RCB had won half their matches there, MI were hoping to end their losing streak. Without having won a single game in the season, they were in urgent need of a win to keep themselves alive in the tournament.
The balanced RCB team's only blotch was the inconsistency in their batting. Despite having a decent bowling unit led by Mitchell Starc, the batsmen set up some below-par totals for them to defend. On the other hand, Mumbai was troubled with Zaheer Khan's injury and had found his substitute in Delhi pacer, Pawan Suyal.
Run-chase's favourite kid, Virat Kohli chose to field after winning the toss at the Wankhede.
Rohit's silent half-century amidst Pollard's noisy biggie
Bangalore boy CM Gautam along with Ben Dunk got off to a decent start for MI, mixing some boundaries and runs. But, a change in bowling caused Dunk into throwing away his wicket.
Ambati Rayudu, who'd proven to be Mumbai's best bet, walked in. The host's run rate had backslid from 9.5 to 8-odd. Although Rayudu-Gautam were maintaining that decent rate, they were likely to end up at another below-par total.
Right when they were looking to accelerate, three quick wickets of Rayudu, Gautam and Corey Anderson pushed the game into RCB's side. Rohit Sharma and Kieron Pollard were the new batsmen in. After the second time-out, the duo made sure to send at least one ball in the over, beyond the ropes.
At 129/6, came the momentous 17th over. After 3 balls in the over, Starc bowled a bouncer at Pollard and he missed to hook it. The Australian quick walked up to him and mouthed some words, and the batsman seemed peevish.
Starc backed before bowling the next one but just as he pranced in again, Pollard moved away. Well, that was the backdrop for the renowned bicker between the both. Ironically, Kohli walked in to calm the situation.
After all the aggression, Rohit Sharma backed himself to hasten the run-scoring. At the end of 20 overs, MI managed to put up a defendable total of 187.
Inconsistent RCB batting hits again
The openers, Parthiv Patel and Chris Gayle, were off to a great start scoring 53 runs in 5 overs. They were already above the required run rate. However, an early slog-and-a-miss from Patel, allowed Harbhajan's ball to hammer the stumps.
Kohli joined Gayle in the middle and continued striking. They had a record of sharing five 100-run partnerships and this was the time to add another to it.
But, the RCB problem of inconsistency hit back and Gayle was out before the end of 10th over. de Villers walked in, rightly ahead of Yuvraj Singh, to revive Bangalore's hopes. However, Bumrah bulleted a yorker, angling towards the leg stick and AB mistimed his sweep, leading the ball directly to his stumps. Soon, Kohli followed suit and was out within the next over.
A total of 69 required runs off the last six overs looked attainable. Yuvraj and Rossouw were in the middle and had they played to their capability, they would take their team home. Despite the immense faith Kohli had on Yuvraj, the Indian legend had failed to deliver. This game wasn't going to be any different as he was run out by Pollard within the next two overs.
The requirement was now 54 off the last four overs. Given the plethora of extras given away by the RCB bowlers, they had built the peak of the mountain themselves. A mixture of boundaries and wickets followed.
In the last over, RCB needed 27 runs with Dinda and Aaron in the middle. The match was lost already and the customary last over was got done with. RCB had officially lost.
It wasn't a matter of that game alone, the problem of the discordant batting unit of the Bangalore team was increasing with every game, and haunts them even now!