Royal Challengers’ famed batting comes undone in pursuit of a big total

The men in blue and gold returned to their home ground at Churchgate, roared back to terrific form with the bat to post a formidable total of 194 and crushed the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) by 58 runs in their Pepsi-IPL VI match here on Saturday.

Mumbai Indians’ fifth win took its points tally to ten from eight matches.

It would now look forward to a favourable result against the Kings XI Mohali here on Monday in order to firm up its position for a play-off berth.

Nothing of note had happened for MI in the course of its ten day journey, when it faced spirited opponents and lost at Jaipur and Delhi before getting past Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens.

Captain Ricky Ponting’s dismal run with the bat made him make way for Rohit Sharma to take over the reins.

Cheered by passionate and vociferous home supporters at the Wankhede Stadium, MI gave ample hints of surpassing its high of 209 this season, before the RCB captain Virat Kohli exhibited his fielding skills on the off side to cause a setback of sorts.

But Dwayne Smith and Kieron Pollard’s power hitting proved to be good enough.

Kulkarni, Harbhajan strike

Seamer Dhawal Kulkarni, playing his first match of the current season, and off-spinner Harbhajan Singh played the perfect foil and brought an end to the visitor’s ambitions by inflicting big blows and virtually sealed the fate of the match by the eighth over.

The much awaited clash between the mighty Chris Gayle and the MI seamers, mainly Lasith Malinga and Mitchell Johnson, became a non-starter once Rohit elected to bat. Kohli expressed surprise at the decision taken by his counterpart reasoning that the character of the pitch would not decline in the second session.

Big hitting

A chancy knock by Sachin Tendulkar was largely responsible for the home team collecting an impressive 52 by the power-play overs. It laid the platform for the Smith and thereafter for Pollard to cut loose, displaying their powerful arms and superb eyesight to hit towering sixes.

Even RCB’s most successful seamer Vinay Kumar and left arm spinner Syed Mohammad, who took control of the proceedings in his first two overs, were not spared. However, Vinay showed common sense and intelligence in his third and fourth overs.

Kohli on target

MI seemed to be well poised to cross the 200 mark at the end of the 16th over but Kohli’s direct hits from cover brought an end to another fine effort from Dinesh Karthik and then Ambati Rayudu.

When Pollard top-edged for Ravi Rampaul to take a diving catch running in from third man, MI had lost three wickets at 169. Eventually Harbhajan and Johnson made 24 in the last two overs for MI to reach its highest total in 13 matches against the Bangalore side.

Scoreboard

Mumbai Indians: Dwayne Smith b Syed Mohammad 50 (36b, 4x4, 3x6), Sachin Tendulkar lbw b R.P. Singh 23 (13b, 5x4), Dinesh Karthik (run out) 43 (33b, 3x4, 1x6), Rohit Sharma (run out) 10 (8b, 1x4), Kieron Pollard c Rampaul b Vinay Kumar 34 (16b, 2x4, 3x6), Ambati Rayudu (run out) 0 (0b), Harbhajan c Tiwary b Rampaul 16 (8b, 3x4), Mitchell Johnson (not out) 9 (5b, 1x6), Lasith Malinga (not out) 0 (1b); Extras (b-4, lb-2, w-3): 9; Total (for seven wkts. in 20 overs): 194.

Fall of wickets: 1-29 (Tendulkar), 2-97 (Smith), 3-118 (Sharma), 4-169 (Karthik), 5-169 (Rayudu), 6-169 (Pollard), 7-187 (Harbhajan).

Royal Challengers Bangalore bowling: Ravi Rampaul 4-0-35-1, R.P. Singh 4-0-40-1, Jaydev Unadkat 4-0-32-0, R. Vinay Kumar 4-0-38-1, Syed Mohammad 4-0-43-1.

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Chris Gayle c Rayudu b Harbhajan 18 (20b, 2x4, 1x6), Tillakaratne Dilshan c Johnson b Kulkarni 13 (18b, 2x4), Virat Kohli c Dinesh Karthik b Kulkarni 1 (4b), A.B. de Villiers c Dinesh Karthik b Kulkarni 2 (3b), Saurabh Tiwary c Harbhajan b Smith 21(19b, 1x6), K.B. Arun Karthik st Dinesh Karthik b Harbhajan 12 (8b, 1x6), Syed Mohammad c Johnson b Smith 9 (11b, 1x4), Ravi Rampaul (not out) 23 (18b, 3x4), R. Vinay Kumar (not out) 26 (20b, 4x4); Extras (b-4, lb-1, nb-1, w-5): 11; Total (for seven wkts. in 20 overs): 136.

Fall of wickets: 1-35 (Dilshan), 2-37 (Gayle), 3-39 (Kohli), 4-43 (de Villiers), 5-67 (Arun Karthik), 6-83 (Tiwary), 7-85 (Syed Mohammad).

Mumbai Indians bowling: Johnson 4-0-27-0, Malinga 4-0-25-0, Kulkarni 4-0-19-3, Harbhajan 4-0-21-2, Smith 2-0-20-2, Pollard 2-0-19-0

Man-of-the-match: Dwayne Smith.

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