Led by swashbuckling half-centuries from AB de Villiers and Moeen, Bangalore posted a competitive 171/7 in their 20 overs. In reply, Rohit Sharma and Quinton de Kock got Mumbai off to a solid start but with the ball turning square, the batsmen found the going tough with Moeen doing the job with the ball as well returning 2/18.
However, Hardik like he has so often done for Mumbai, came in at the end plundering 37 in just 16 balls to take his side to a win in 19 overs.
Mumbai's chase got off to a rollicking start courtesy Rohit and de Kock. The left-hander crunched Umesh Yadav for two back-to-back boundaries in the first over before Rohit welcomed Navdeep Saini by pulling him over deep fine leg. Bangalore continued to bleed runs in the Power Play with all the bowlers failing to make any sort of mark.
The hosts raced to 67/0 after six overs and at that stage it seemed they might race to a win on a canter. But an inspired bowling change from Virat Kohli turned the game on its head. With the ball turning sharply, Moeen was brought into the attack in the seventh over and the move paid dividends.
The spinner struck twice in four balls to remove both set openers and open the contest wide open. He first castled Rohit (28 in 19) with one that turned sharply from outside off and then trapped de Kock (40 in 26) right in front of the stumps three balls later.
Mumbai soon realised aggression was the best form of defence on the surface and Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav decided to take on the RCB spinners. Ishan Kishan first pummelled Negi for two sixes on the bounce while Suryakumar creamed Moeen effortlessly over extra cover for another half-a-dozen.
Kishan then took after Chahal too, depositing him over deep midwicket but the shrewd tactician that the leg-spinner is, had his revenge the very next ball. Looking for a repeat of his previous shot, Kishan (21 in 9) once again came down the track but Chahal saw him and pushed the ball wider and Patel removed the bails in a flash to catch the batsman short.
Kohli employed spin exclusively through overs six to 16 where RCB took 6 for 64 to stymie the hosts. It seemed it would be enough but Hardik had other ideas. With Mumbai needing 22 runs to win off two overs, the all-rounder took Negi apart thumping him for two fours and two sixes to finish off the contest with six balls to spare.
Earlier, Rohit's decision to field was vindicated when Jason Behrendorff got the prise scalp of Kohli in just the third over the day for 8. The left-arm pacer making full use of his height nipped a shortish length delivery back into the RCB captain catching his inside-edge and de Kock made no mistake in snapping up a simple chance.
Jasprit Bumrah then started off with a maiden as Mumbai tightened their grip early on proceedings until Parthiv Patel broke the shackles. The left-hander slammed three fours and a six off Behrendorff's third over to help Bangalore move to a respectable 45/1 after the six-over mark.
However, Hardik brought an end to Parthiv's sprightly knock when the opener uppishly drove a back of a length delivery to point to fall for a 20-ball 28. De Villiers and Moeen slowly re-built the innings amidst a good spell from Hardik and Rahul Chahar.
The leg-spinner, in particular, had both batsmen in a lot of strife with his variations but could not dislodge the duo.
At 97/2 after 13 overs, Bangalore were desperate to make a move and Moeen decided he was the one to take initiative. The Englishman first hacked Chahar for a six down the ground before clubbing Krunal Pandya into the stands over long-on. Moeen then plundered two sixes and a four in Behrendorff's last over as overs 14 to 17 yielded 39 runs for Bangalore.
Both batsmen reached their respective half-centuries in the 18th over but Moeen could not carry on for long falling to Lasith Malinga for a well-compiled 32-ball 50 which included one four and a six. Marcus Stoinis fell for a duck two balls later deceived by a slower one from the Sri Lankan.
De Villiers further collected two fours and a six but was run-out in the last over courtesy a direct throw from long-on by Kieron Pollard. The South African smashed 75 in just 51 balls, his innings studded with six fours and fours sixes. Three wickets in the final overs scuppered Bangalore's final flourish but they still managed to cross the 170-run mark.
First Published: April 16, 2019, 7:20 AM IST