The Mark of Potential Champions: Pollard’s 70 (47) Leads Mumbai to a Thrilling Win Over Royal Challengers

Match report

IPL has and will produce a lot of high-scoring contests, at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium as well, but few will better the quality of the 12th match of IPL 2017, between Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Mumbai Indians (MI).

Royal Challengers strike back

At the halfway stage, Rohit Sharma‘s men and those watching will have anticipated quite an easy win for the visitors, even on a pitch that was a little slow and made shot-making difficult. But the way Royal Challengers came out and responded to having set Mumbai only 143 for victory, were out of the top drawer.  And, through Samuel Badree, who replaced Shane Watson from the previous match, Virat Kohli and co. had Mumbai tottering at 7/4 in 2.4 overs. The first four Mumbai wickets fell with the score at 7!

Mumbai Indians, at this stage, were not just on the back-foot but fighting to save their lives!

Badree took a hat-trick, the 15th of the Indian Premier League, in his second and the innings’s third over, to really dent Mumbai. Parthiv Patel was Badree’s first victim; the wicketkeeper-batsman was followed by Mitchell McClenaghan, who was sent up the order as a pinch-hitter, and the third wicket to complete the hat-trick was Rohit, who was cleaned up by Badree with a googly. RCB could not have made a better start with the ball and, on the other hand, Mumbai could not have gotten off to a worse start to their chase of 143.

Kieron Pollard, the eventual hero of the 12th match and the man-of-the-match, had joined Nitish Rana in the middle and the anxiety was palpable in the two batsmen. They could not attack and were defending nervously. The visitors could not afford to lose another wicket even with the Pandyas and a healthy tail comprising Harbhajan Singh and Tim Southee still to come.

The scoreboard rarely ticked over, but Pollard gave a strong indication that he meant business on this evening. His bat swing wasn’t high as usual and the West Indian was merely looking to get himself in and see through a phase which RCB had made theirs.

More misery for Mumbai

Just as the Pollard-Rana partnership started scoring a few runs, Badree was brought back into the attack for his last over, which was the eighth of the innings. All that Pollard and Rana had to do was play him out. The required run rate started to creep over 9 runs per over, but Badree was on top of his game and Mumbai had to guard against losing another wicket. Rana, though, made an error in judgement and tried to cut a ball that bounced more than he anticipated, took the outer half of his bat and ballooned up in the air for Sreenath Aravind to gather at backward point.

Mumbai were reduced further, to 33/5, and Krunal Pandya entered the scene.

The redemption

The Mumbai Indians’s innings was a tale of three quarters: the one before the first strategic time-out, which was taken at the nine-over mark, and the two after. The visitors went into the time-out at 37/5 and RCB were well ahead in the contest. Kohli was back in action and started working his magic in the very first match on his return.

But after the conclusion of the time-out, this match started to turn on its head once again.

Led by Pollard, Mumbai made a move on and started to collect runs a little freely. Mind you, RCB were ahead in this contest for a long time, but the score Mumbai were chasing (143) wasn’t huge and the required run rate, as a result, didn’t get out of control quickly.

The boundaries were being found almost every over by Pollard and Krunal Pandya from the 10th of the innings onwards, and Kohli was forced to shuffle his bowlers around, in search of just one wicket. But the hosts just couldn’t get one until after Mumbai had gotten ahead of them, in the 18th over and with the visitors needing only 17 runs off 15 balls.

Pollard was dismissed by Yuzvendra Chahal, who was having an off day like Bumrah, but not before the West Indian had taken Mumbai to well within sight of a famous victory with a 47-ball 70. Krunal Pandya once again proved his batting credentials and his personality. This was one occasion in which he could have floundered and been found out. But alongside Pollard, Krunal played sedately and picked the right balls to hit. And together, this duo put together a 93-run, sixth-wicket partnership to help Mumbai nudge closer to a memorable victory.

The finishing touch

As fairytale would have it, Mumbai Indians’ player of IPL 2017 so far, Hardik Pandya, with four runs required, hit a six to win Mumbai the match by four wickets. This was their 7th win at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium and provided strong evidence of why they are strong contenders for becoming the champions of the 10th edition of the IPL.

Gaining the upper hand

Earlier in the evening, against one of the fearsome batting line-ups in the IPL, Mumbai Indians’s bowling attack produced arguably its best performance of the 2017 season so far, restricting Royal Challengers to just 142/5 at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. This, after Rohit Sharma had won the third successive toss and asked the hosts, whose captain Virat Kohli was back, to bat first on a dry Bangalore pitch.

Jasprit Bumrah had an ordinary day among all the Mumbai bowlers, but in Mitchell McClenaghan, the visitors had a bowler who raised his game by at least a couple of notches after three really poor and expensive outings with the ball. And, by being disciplined with his line and length, the New Zealand left-arm pacer not only conceded just five runs an over (1/20 in four overs) but also got the most important RCB wicket of Kohli.

The measure of how well Mumbai bowled reflected in their conceding just 41 runs to Chris Gayle (22 runs off 27 balls) and AB de Villiers (19 runs off 21 balls), in 8 overs. And much of the credit for this has to be given to Harbhajan Singh and Krunal Pandya for bowling immaculate lines and lengths and also varying the pace of their deliveries cleverly, to choke up the runs. Gayle and de Villiers weren’t given room to free their arms and play square on either side of the pitch and nor were they allowed to step down and hit straight over the bowler’s head.

By their standards, RCB had gotten off to a slow start, making just 62 runs without loss in nine overs. But very much like against Sunrisers Hyderabad in their previous match, at home, Mumbai did not let their opponents get off the hook in the second half of their innings, even with 10 wickets in hand.

While Gayle was at the crease, Rohit did not take the risk of bringing in Krunal Pandya, who would have spun the ball into the big-hitting left-hander and made life easier as a result, into the attack. A game of cat and mouse unfolded between Rohit and the two RCB openers, with the Mumbai skipper letting Harbhajan, who bowled well overall but in particular kept Gayle on a tight leash, finish his four-over quota inside the first nine overs. Harbhajan, a little disappointingly, didn’t provide a wicket which he and his team were on the lookout for,. But the Turbanator had bowled measly, conceding just 23 runs off his four overs.

Unable to get Krunal into the attack, Rohit opted for the younger Pandya, Hardik. And the breakthrough was instantly found, with Gayle, in trying to hit a short ball hard, edged through to Parthiv Patel. De Villiers didn’t make an impact to the RCB innings and in actuality, the South African batting superstar along with Kohli weren’t allowed to. De Villiers fell to a spectacular one-handed diving catch from Rohit at cover, in trying to drive Krunal Pandya inside out over the Mumbai skipper.

Royal Challengers v Mumbai Indians, 12th Match Scorecard

Playing XIs

RCB: 1. Virat Kohli (c), 2. Chris Gayle, 3. Mandeep Singh, 4. AB de Villiers, 5. Kedar Jadhav (wk), 6. Samuel Badree, 7. Pawan Negi, 8. Sreenath Aravind, 9. Yuzvendra Chahal, 10. Tymal Mills, and 11. Stuart Binny

MI: 1. Rohit Sharma (c), 2. Parthiv Patel, 3. Jos Buttler, 4. Nitish Rana, 5. Kieron Pollard, 6. Krunal Pandya, 7. Hardik Pandya, 8. Harbhajan Singh, 9. Mitchell McClenaghan, 10. Lasith Malinga, and 11. Tim Southee


RCB: 142/5 (Kohli 62; McClenaghan 2/20 and K Pandya 1/21)
MI: 145/6 (Pollard 70 and K Pandya 37*; Badree 4/9)

Result: Mumbai Indians beat Royal Challengers Bangalore by four wickets in the 12th match of IPL 2017. Kieron Pollard was awarded the man-of-the-match for his 47-ball 70, which piloted the visitors at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium to a memorable victory.

Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) Innings (toss: Mumbai, who chose to bowl first)
Batsman Dismissal Runs scored No. of 4s No. of 6s Strike rate
Chris Gayle caught Patel, bowled H Pandya 22 (27) 2 1 81.48
Virat Kohli caught Buttler, bowled McClenaghan 62 (47) 5 2 131.91
AB de Villiers caught Rohit, bowled K Pandya 19 (21) 0 1 90.47
Kedar Jadhav run out Bumrah 9 (8) 0 0 112.50
Pawan Negi not out 13 (13) 0 0 100.00
Mandeep Singh bowled McClenaghan 0 (1) 0 0 0.00
Stuart Binny not out 6 (4) 0 0 150.00
Batsmen who didn’t bat: Yuzvendra Chahal, Samuel Badree, Tymal Mills, and Sreenath Aravind
Extras: 11 (1 no-ball, 3 wides, 4 byes, and 3 leg byes)
RCB’s total: 142/5 in 20 overs, at 7.10 runs per over
RCB’s fall of wickets: 63/1 (Gayle, 9.2), 110/2 (Kohli, 15.3), 115/3 (de Villiers, 16.2), 127/4 (Jadhav, 17.6), and 127/5 (Mandeep, 18.1)
Mumbai Indians (MI) Bowling
Bowlers Overs Dots bowled Runs conceded Wickets taken Economy rate
Tim Southee 2 3 23 0 11.50
Harbhajan Singh 4 12 23 0 5.75
Mitchell McClenaghan 4 11 20 2 5.00
Jasprit Bumrah 4 6 39 0 9.75
Hardik Pandya 2 3 9 1 4.50
Krunal Pandya 4 9 21 1 5.25
MI Innings (target: 143 runs in 20 overs, at 7.15 runs per over)
Batsman Dismissal Runs scored No. of 4s No. of 6s Strike rate
Parthiv Patel caught Gayle, bowled Badree 3 (8) 0 0 37.50
Jos Buttler caught Gayle, bowled Binny 2 (5) 0 0 40.00
Rohit Sharma bowled Badree 0 (2) 0 0 0.00
McClenaghan caught Mandeep, bowled Badree 0 (1) 0 0 0.00
Nitish Rana caught Aravind, bowled Badree 11 (16) 1 0 68.75
Kieron Pollard caught de Villiers, bowled Chahal 70 (47) 3 5 148.93
Krunal Pandya not out 37 (30) 3 1 123.33
Hardik Pandya not out 9 (4) 0 1 225.00
Batsmen who didn’t bat: Harbhajan Singh, Tim Southee and Jasprit Bumrah
Extras: 13 (7 wides and 6 leg byes)
MI’s total: 145/6 in 18.5 overs, at 7.69 runs per over
MI’s fall of wickets: 7/1 (Buttler, 1.5), 7/2 (Patel, 2.2), 7/3 (McClenaghan, 2.3), 7/4 (Rohit, 2.4), 33/5 (Rana, 7.6), and 126/6 (Pollard, 17.3)
RCB Bowling
Bowlers Overs Dots bowled Runs conceded Wickets taken Economy rate
Samuel Badree 4 17 9 4 2.25
Stuart Binny 2 3 14 1 7.00
Sreenath Aravind 4 10 21 0 5.25
Tymal Mills 3.5 8 36 0 9.39
Yuzvendra Chahal 3 5 31 1 10.33
Pawan Negi 2 2 28 0 14.00

Your opinion...