New Delhi: Krunal Pandey (37*) and Kieron Pollard (70) played out of their skins after Samuel Badree picked the first hat-trick of the 10 edition of IPL as Mumbai Indians beat Royal Challengers Bangalore by 4 wickets at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Friday. Virat Kohli's return wasn't enough to change RCB's fortunes as they have now lost three of their first four games this season.
Chasing 143 to win, Mumbai Indians were expected to stroll to the target on a flat deck in Bengaluru. But Badree had other ideas. Coming in to bowl in the third over, Badree scalped the prized wickets of Parthiv Patel, Mitchell McClenaghan and Rohit Sharma in three successive deliveries to break the backbone of MI's batting.
Skipper Virat Kohli had handed the ball to the West Indian to pile more pressure on Mumbai after Stuart Binny dismissed Jos Buttler (2) in the second over and Badree answered the skipper’s call in spectacular style and picked up his first hat-trick of the IPL.
First, the West Indian bowled a loopy leg-spinner outside off-stump to induce an uppish drive off Parthiv’s (3) bat for Chris Gayle to take an easy catch at extra-cover. He then got pinch-hitter Mitchell McClenaghan (0) to hit a full-toss straight to Mandeep Singh at long on.
Rohit failed to pick the googly and the ball rattled into his stumps. Kohli’s joy knew no bounds as a dejected Rohit walked back to the dug-out with MI’s score reading 7/4 in the third over.
In-form Nitish Rana and Pollard then started to stitch a partnership as RCB tried to pile the pressure on the duo. But the MI batsmen were up for the challenge and kept rotating the strike and waited for the bad ball to pinch a boundary.
The two had put on 26 for the fifth wicket when Badree stuck again. This time it was a wide delivery outside the off-stump that Rana (11) failed to keep to the ground. The hit went straight to Sreenath Aravind at point and he made no mistake. MI were pegged back once again as the score read 33/5 in 8 overs.
But that was the end of RCB’s joy. Krunal and Pollard ensured that the two did not lose their cool and kept taking it slow and steady. While Krunal kept running the singles and doubles, Pollard too looked to score singles before putting the bad deliveries away for boundaries.
Both Krunal and Pollard ensured that the required run-rate never crossed the 11-run mark. In the process, Pollard also crossed 7000 runs in T20 cricket.
With 23 required off 18 balls, Pollard welcomed back Yuzvendra Chahal to the bowling crease with a huge six. But the leg-spinner got his revenge as another attempted six fell in the hands of AB de Villiers as MI’s score read 126/6 in 17.3 overs.
But it was too late in the day and Krunal first hit a boundary off the first ball of the 19th over and Hardik hit a huge six to seal the deal with 7 balls to spare. Krunal remained unbeaten on 37 off 30 balls to see his team home.
Earlier, Rohit had won the toss and sent RCB in to bat. Four of the last five games at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium had been won by the team batting first, but Rohit said that his team was more comfortable chasing.
And Kohli and Gayle started well as RCB reached 62 in the 9th over with Kohli on 36 and Gayle going slightly on the slower side with 22 off 26 balls. But just when it looked like Gayle would take the attack to the opposition, Hardik sent back the West Indian opener.
Hardik pitched one short and Gayle look to free his arms and only managed to get a thin edge for Parthiv to complete a regulation catch behind the stumps. Gayle went for 22 as ABD joined Kohli at the crease.
The two kept rotating the strike before Krunal induced ABD to top-edge a slog sweep. But unfortunately for Krunal, Buttler failed to catch it at deep mid-wicket. De Villiers was batting on 7 and it looked ominous for Mumbai.
But Mitchell McClenaghan had other ideas as he dismissed Kohli in the 16th over. Kohli looked to hit one on the off-stump over the extra cover boundary, only to manage to find Buttler at the boundary. With Kohli (62) gone, it was on de Villiers and Kedar Jadhav to give the innings the perfect finish. ABD had also spent enough time in the middle, having faced 20 balls.
Yet, Krunal dismissed ABD against the run of play. Looking to go over covers, de Villiers (19) didn’t quite get to the pitch of the ball and looked to chip it into the gap. But Rohit anticipated it well and went for a one-handed attempt to pull off a blinder.
De Villiers’ dismissal changed the complexion of the game completely as Kedar Jadhav (run out of a free hit for 9) and Mandeep Singh (0) failed to take the attack to the MI bowlers. Ultimately, RCB finished on 142/5 with Negi (13) and Binny (6) at the crease.
Such was MI’s domination that RCB managed to hit the last boundary in the 15th over and the last five overs yielded only 38 runs.