Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma smashed an unbeaten half-century to lead his side to a 19-run victory in a fierce battle against Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Wankhede Stadium.
Besides Sharma’s half-century, the other highlight of the match came when Australia pace bowler Mitchell Starc, who was playing for Bangalore and West Indies batsman Kieron Pollard, who was representing Mumbai, got involved in a heated confrontation in the 17th over.
The incident started when Starc bowled a bouncer and had a few words for Pollard. It immediately got out of control two balls later when Pollard pulled out and Starc deliberately aimed the ball at the powerful West Indian. Pollard responded by throwing his bat at Starc, but luckily it slipped out of his hand before he could complete the throw.
Bangalore captain Virat Kohli made the right choice to bowl first as Mumbai opener Ben Dunk was caught by Yuvraj Singh at mid-off off the bowling of Harshal Patel for 15.
Ambati Rayudu only made nine runs before he was clean bowled by Ashok Dinda.
Wicketkeeper Chidhambaram Gautam managed to score 30 runs before he was caught behind off the bowling of Varun Aaron.
New Zealand all-rounder Corey Anderson once again failed to have an impact with the bat as he was caught by Kohli at long-on off the bowling of Yuzvendra Chahal for six runs.
Pollard and Sharma steadied the innings with a 97-run partnership, during which Sharma brought up his half-century, before Pollard was run out by Starc for 43 off 31 balls, which included six boundaries.
Mumbai eventually finished on 187/5 off their 20 overs thanks to Sharma’s unbeaten knock of 59, which came off 35 balls, and included three boundaries and four sixes.
Dinda, Patel, Aaron and Chahal all picked up one wicket apiece.
Chasing 188 to win, Bangalore got off to a solid start as their opening pair of Chris Gayle and Parthiv Patel amassed a 53-run partnership before Patel was clean bowled by Harbhajan Singh for 26.
Gayle went on to score 38 before he was also cleaned up by Singh.
South Africa batsman AB de Villiers only made nine runs before he had his stumps shattered by Jasprit Bumrah.
Kohli managed to make 35 runs before he was caught by Anderson at long-off off the bowling of Pawan Suyal.
Following Kohli’s dismissal, Bangalore’s middle and lower order completely collapsed as they went from 119/4 to 159/8.
Due to the collapse, Bangalore fell short of their target by 19 runs.
Bumrah, Singh and Lasith Malinga took two wickets each, while Suyal snapped up one wicket.
Kohli was disappointed with his team’s performance, and said: “Very gettable, we could have batted smarter, one more partnership was needed. It was a dream start, we could not capitalise on it. Every team plays hard and these sort of things happen. If we had applied ourselves we could have crossed the line. Not losing hope, we need to win at least five out of the next seven.”
Sharma, who was also named Man of the Match, was pleased to have won the match, and said: “By far the best game so far. This is what MI is all about, we took some brilliant catches. Wankhede always has some dew and the bowlers did very well. Suyal came back very well and things slowed down for RCB. We kept taking wickets. Important for me to step up and I’m glad I played an important knock. We’re keeping our heads up. We need to be positive. Next game against CSK is also very important.”