Hardik’s cameo ensures a comfortable win for MI over RCB

Mumbai Indians returned to winning ways after a 5-wicket victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Wankhede Stadium on Monday. Quinton de Kock was once again our top-scorer with 40 runs, while Lasith Malinga was the pick of our bowlers with figures of 4 for 31. Hardik Pandya played a crucial knock of 37* from 16 balls to get us to victory.

Chasing 172 to win, Rohit Sharma and de Kock got us off to a flying start for the second game running. They scored 67 in the first six overs and smashed Bangalore’s bowlers to all parts of the park. RCB’s spinners though proved to be more effective against us and it was Moeen Ali’s off-breaks that got the better of both our openers in the eighth over.

Undeterred, the two new batsmen Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan at the crease began to counter-attack RCB’s spinners. Both batsmen decided to attack the spinners and were successful in depositing them into the crowd. Kishan especially was clearing the boundary ropes frequently before being stumped off Yuzvendra Chahal’s bowling.

Krunal Pandya joined Suryakumar in the middle and the duo tried to play the spinners out of the attack in prudent fashion. However, Suryakumar was dismissed trying to hit Chahal for a maximum in his final over of the game. Hardik was next to the crease and the swashbuckling all-rounder made his presence felt instantly with two boundaries in the 17th over.

He struck another four in the subsequent over, but the game seemed like it was heading for a tense finish after Krunal got caught at midwicket. Hardik though had other plans and decided to take on the mantle of getting us across the finish line. He smashed Pawan Negi for two fours and two sixes in the penultimate over of the game to give us our fifth win of the season. 

Earlier in the evening, our seamers made life difficult for RCB’s batsmen with some vicious swing. Virat Kohli fell after inside-edging a ball from Jason Behrendorff to de Kock. However, Bangalore could have easily lost more wickets in the powerplay with the RCB batsmen struggling to even get bat on ball at one stage.

Kohli’s opening partner Parthiv Patel was dismissed by Hardik soon after the powerplay. The Bangalore wicket-keeper’s attempted cut was caught by Suryakumar Yadav at point. Moeen could have also been back in the hut by the 10th over, but de Kock couldn’t quite catch what was a difficult under-edged chance off Rahul Chahar’s spin.

Moeen went on to make the most of his lifeline and put on a 95-run stand for the fourth wicket with AB de Villiers. The Englishman scored 50 from 32 balls and eventually perished in the 18th over after a slower ball from Malinga deceived him.

Malinga then dismissed Marcus Stoinis for a duck in the same over and produced a stunning final over that saw RCB lose three wickets, including that of de Villiers, who was run-out for 75 after a spectacular direct hit from the boundary ropes by Kieron Pollard. Malinga ended his spell with the dismissals of Akshdeep Nath and Pawan Negi as RCB finished on 171.

Brief score: Royal Challengers Bangalore 171 for 7 in 20 overs (de Villiers 75; Malinga 4/31) lost to Mumbai Indians 172 for 5 in 19 overs (de Kock 40; Moeen 2/18) by 5 wickets

Man of the Match: Lasith Malinga

Our next match will be against Delhi Capitals at the Feroz Shah Kotla in New Delhi on Thursday.