RCB hold nerves
BANGALORE – A nerveless final over from Vinay Kumar saw Royal Challengers Bangalore earn a dramatic two-run victory over Mumbai Indians at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, in the second match of IPL 2013 today.
Mumbai arrived in the 20th over only three wickets down, and needing 10 runs for victory, but a double-strike from Kumar, early in the over, brought two new batsmen to the crease, and mounted substantial pressure on the visitors.
West Indies batsman Kieron Pollard got on strike for the first time, with eight runs needed and only two balls remaining and though he struck his first ball for a four, which would have been a six, but for one inch, he could only dig out the perfect yorker Kumar delivered on the last ball as far as long on.
Royal Challengers’ victory had been set up earlier in the match by a Chris Gayle IPL classic. His unbeaten 92 from 58 balls helped his side overcome a pedestrian start, and launched them to 156 for 5. After Gayle, the next highest Royal Challengers score was 24, from Virat Kohli.Gayle’s lone hand began with uncharacteristic reticence, as the Mumbai seam bowlers, led by Mitchell Johnson, found bounce and movement on the grassy Chinnaswamy Stadium surface that had compelled Ricky Ponting to bowl first.
The six Powerplay overs saw the fall of two batsmen and yielded only 31 runs, with Gayle having made four of those, from 10 deliveries. In fact it was not until the ninth over that Gayle showed any aggressive intent, when he clipped debutant Jasprit Bumrah through the leg side, before clearing his leg and drilling a full delivery into the sightscreen, next ball.
He rarely eased up thereafter though, hitting 11 fours and five sixes in his innings, as his teammates continued to flounder around him. Pollard came in for conspicuous punishment in the 11th over, disappearing for 15, never to see the bowling crease again, while Munaf Patel’s final over went for 17.
Mumbai’s reply was promising at the outset, as Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting – opening together for the first time – hit 50 runs together in just over seven overs. But despite that solid foundation, Mumbai’s top order was unable to lower the asking rate for much of their innings.
Mumbai had Pollard padded up in the dugout, and while Dinesh Karthik, Rohit Sharma and Ambati Rayudu allowed the pressure to escalate through a meandering approach during the middle overs, Pollard was not promoted up the order to induce the dash Mumbai required to win the match.
Karthik finally hit out in the 17th over, hitting three consecutive sixes and a four, to plunder 24 runs off a lacklustre Daniel Christian. But although that mini-surge and the ten-run over that followed tipped the match in favour of the visitors, who needed 17 from 12 balls, a terrific penultimate over from Jaydev Unadkat conceded only seven runs, yielding the floor to a thrilling finish.††