MUMBAI: Rohit Sharma’s 44-ball 62 helped Mumbai Indians to overhaul Royal Challengers Bangalore’ 170 for seven with 12 balls to spare here at the Wankhede Stadium on Wednesday.
His batting was fluid as he took charge of the chase along with Ambati Raid, who was anything but elegant yet equally effective during his 31.
The second-wicket stand of 76 in 55 balls laid the platform for Mumbai’s chase, before Iqbal Abdulla gave Royal Challengers a new lease of life by dismissing Rayudu and Rohit in quick succession, both to slogs.
Mumbai were 109 for three then, needing 62 off seven overs – well on track as dew took effect. Jos Buttler and Kieron Pollard, returning from food poisoning, flexed their muscles by hitting five sixes between them, and Mumbai recorded their second win in five matches.
Mumbai, who opted to bowl, were staring at a 200-plus target as Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers feasted on some friendly bowling during the course of a 59-run stand, before the unheralded players, in what was billed as a battle of two heavyweight teams, rose to the occasion.
Krunal Pandya’s twin strikes to get rid of Kohli and de Villiers in the space of five deliveries stunned Royal Challengers. Shane Watson fell not long after, but then Travis Head, on IPL debut, and Sarfaraz Khan lifted Royal Challengers from 99 for 4 to 170 for 7.
KL Rahul was put through a short-ball test in a hostile burst by Mitchell McClenaghan, during which he was hit hard on the helmet. After the early jitters, though, he ramped and slapped his way to 23 before being caught in the slips. Kohli and de Villiers then counterpunched before the cluster of wickets resulted in a complete breakdown in momentum.
Head took his time to settle in before exhibiting his ball-striking power to swat Hardik Pandya for six over deep square leg in the 15th over. Sarfaraz showed there is more to his game than just scoops and paddles as he milked the spinners before clubbing Jasprit Bumrah for two successive sixes in the final over.
Mumbai lost Parthiv Patel in the second over of the chase, but Varun Aaron’s third over, which went for 19, brought their innings back on track. Once Royal Challengers’ uncapped Indian bowlers were summoned, a game that was only marginally tilted in Mumbai’s favour turned decisively in their direction. Abdulla’s wickets injected a touch of excitement, but any possibility of a close finish was firmly snuffed out by Pollard’s charge.