Jacques Kallis continued to rewrite the art of batting in Twenty20 cricket with composed, calculated hitting as Royal Challengers Bangalore brushed aside Mumbai Indians by seven wickets in the DLF-IPL III here on Saturday.
A picture of poise and balance, his unbeaten 66 (45b, 10x4) helped the visitor (155 for three) make light of Mumbai Indians' 152-run target. Kallis is unbeaten in four back-to-back knocks so far.
The Challengers captain, Anil Kumble, showed earlier with the ball that his hunger for wickets burns fierce as ever in a fitting setting, a packed Brabourne Stadium.
Kallis and Manish Pandey (40 off 27 balls) sucked the momentum out of the Mumbai attack with ruthless strokeplay. The burly South African went after Lasith Malinga, shifting weight on frontfoot for a rocket-like drive to long-off and carting the next ball into the hoarding at mid-wicket with an easy swing of his bat.
Pandey's methods were more brutal, clearing the ropes at long-on against Harbhajan Singh with a powerful drive after picking the length early. He hit three fours and two sixes before making way for Robin Uttappa to continue the shock treatment.
The turning points for Challengers, earlier, were Kumble diffusing Saurabh Tiwary's threat with a googly and Rahul Dravid covering up ground at mid-wicket to complete a brilliant catch with an outstretched hand.
The two India stalwarts came up with inspiring moments when opportunity presented itself.
An aggressive Tiwary, who stepped out against Kumble, did not have time to correct himself and heard the rattle behind as Kumble (4-0-18-1) celebrated a classic spinner's dismissal. Dravid's catch cut short R. Sathish's brilliance at the crease just when the wily Mumbai batsman got into the mood to tear into the bowling.
He led the charge for Mumbai with stylish shots and fantastic running between the wickets. He harvested boundaries with slick placements and put bowlers and fielders under pressure. Zaheer's huge blows at the end resulted in three fours and one six in 23 off nine balls, coming as an unexpected boost to the Mumbai total.
Vinay Kumar pegged Mumbai back with a three-wicket burst in his third over, pitching short outside the off-stump for A.T. Rayudu's attempted slice into Boucher's gloves, then seeing off the great man Sachin Tendulkar bowled leg-stump in another flick to fine-leg. His third victim was Bravo, a leg-before verdict coming after repeated appeals.
The scores: Mumbai Indians: S. Jayasuriya lbw b Steyn 2 (5b), S. Tendulkar b Vinay Kumar 25 (22b, 4x4), A. Tare c Pandey b Kallis 9 (10b, 2x4), S. Tiwary b Kumble 25 (21b, 3x4), A. Rayudu c Boucher b Vinay Kumar 3 (4b), D. Bravo lbw b Vinay Kumar 1 (2b), R. Sathish c Dravid b Steyn 24 (22b, 3x4), K. Pollard c Kohli b Steyn 21 (19b, 1x4, 1x6), Harbhajan c Kallis b Praveen Kumar 4 (6b), Zaheer (not out) 23 (9b, 3x4, 1x6), L. Malinga (not out) 0 (0b), Extras (lb-10, w-4): 14; Total (for nine wkts. in 20 overs): 151.
Fall of wickets: 1-6, 2-36, 3-71, 4-74, 5-75, 6-76, 7-123, 8-125, 9-135.
Royal Challengers Bangalore bowling: Praveen 4-0-37-1, Steyn 4-0-26-3, Kallis 4-0-35-1, Vinay Kumar 4-0-25-3, Kumble 4-0-18-1.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: M. Pandey c Pollard b Harbhajan 40 (27b, 3x4, 2x6), J. Kallis (not out) 66 (45b, 10x4), R. Uttappa c Malinga b Zaheer 23 (15b, 2x4, 1x6), V. Kohli (run out) 17 (12b, 2x6), E. Morgan (not out) 7 (6b), Extras (b-1, lb-1): 2; Total (for three wkts. in 19.1 overs): 155.
Fall of wickets: 1-85, 2-116, 3-136.
Mumbai Indians bowling: Zaheer 4-0-18-1, Malinga 4-0-25-0, Bravo 3.1-0-35-0, Pollard 2-0-24-0, Harbhajan 4-0-35-1, Jayasuriya 2-0-16-0.