Karthik’s blitz not enough as Vinay bowls a terrific final over

Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians served up a breathless finish at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in the IPL here on Thursday, R. Vinay Kumar producing a sublime final over to snatch a tworun victory for the host.

Dinesh Karthik’s clinical 60 (37b, 2x4, 4x6) appeared to have sealed it for Mumbai Indians, but with only 10 runs to defend off the last six balls, the Karnataka seamer removed the former and Ambati Rayudu, before tying Kieron Pollard down with a yorker off the final delivery.

In pursuit of RCB’s 156, MI looked in minor discomfort at the end of the 16th over, needing at that stage 51 more for the win. The tide of the contest, however, appeared to have turned when Daniel Christian leaked 24 runs off the 17th, Karthik plundering three sixes. Vinay, however, would have the final say.

RCB had ridden, as is the norm, on the back of Chris Gayle’s 92 (58b, 11x4, 5x6) to get that far, after Jasprit Bumrah had jolted the host withthree for 32.

MI set off on its chase with Test cricket’s two largest runmakers at the tiller. Ricky Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar managed a patient yet steady 50 for the first wicket. The latter’s run out for 23, however, preceded a dry spell.

The newly-signed Murali Kartik, a vastly underrated bowler, sent down three overs for a niggardly 14, having Ponting stumped along the way.

When Rohit Sharma was excised by Vinay Kumar, it left MI — a giant cache of munitions lying unused in its armoury — 66 runs to hunt down in the last six overs. Karthik’s onslaught appeared to have taken MI closer but it wasn’t to be.

Torrid start Earlier, inserted on a pitch with the promise of some help to the quick men, RCB endured a torrid beginning. Mitchell Johnson bowled a razor-sharp first over and packed Tillakaratne Dilshan off in his next.

Ponting then threw on young Bumrah, fresh off a man-of-the-match effort for Gujarat in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy final.

The 19-year-old has an unusual bowling action, arms all stiff and angled oddly. His opening deliveries were — perhaps there were nerves at play here — poorly controlled and Virat Kohli promptly smashed three to the off-side boundary.

But, Bumrah recovered at once: his fifth ball was speared in from wide of the crease; Kohli, perhaps unluckily, was adjudged leg before.

Mayank Agarwal became Bumrah’s second victim and Karun Nair his third. In between, Daniel Christian had come and gone. It left RCB, at 80 for five in the 13th over, relying on one man’s broad shoulders.

And Gayle wasn’t about to let the side down. The Jamaican is no gazelle between the stumps at the best of times, and after a tangle with Harbhajan Singh, was limping his way around. But it did not affect his runscoring. Gayle butchered sixes off Kieron Pollard and Munaf Patel, and in the company of Arun Karthik added 76 runs for the sixth wicket, off the innings’ last 44 balls.

Munaf bled 32 of them himself, off overs 18 and 20. At 156, RCB’s total had escaped mediocrity, but not by very much.

Scoreboard

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Chris Gayle (not out) 92 (58b, 11x4, 5x6), Tillakaratne Dilshan b Johnson 0 (8b), Virat Kohli lbw b Bumrah 24 (14b, 4x4, 1x6), Mayank Agarwal c Tendulkar b Bumrah 1 (5b), Daniel Christian c Johnson b Harbhajan 4 (13b), Karun Nair lbw b Bumrah 0 (3b), K.B. Arun Karthik (not out) 19 (19b, 3x4); Extras (lb-11, w-5): 16; Total (for five wkts. in 20 overs): 156.

Fall of wickets: 1-3 (Dilshan), 2-28 (Kohli), 3-31 (Mayank), 4-75 (Christian), 5-80 (Karun).

Mumbai Indians bowling: Johnson 3-0-15-1, Munaf 4-0-40-0, Bumrah 4-0-32-3, Oram 4-0-22-0, Harbhajan 4-0-21-1, Pollard 1-0-15-0.

Mumbai Indians: Ricky Ponting st. Arun Karthik b Murali Kartik 28 (33b, 1x4, 1x6), Sachin Tendulkar (run out) 23 (19b, 4x4), Dinesh Karthik c Mayank b Vinay 60 (37b, 3x4, 4x6), Rohit Sharma b Vinay 11 (11b, 1x4), Ambati Rayudu b Vinay 18 (18b, 1x4), Kieron Pollard (not out) 5 (2b, 1x4), Harbhajan Singh (not out) 1 (1b); Extras (b-1, lb-4, w-2, nb-1): 8; Total (for five wkts. in 20 overs): 154.

Fall of wickets: 1-52 (Tendulkar), 2-62 (Ponting), 3-88 (Rohit), 4-148 (Karthik), 5-148 (Rayudu).

Royal Challengers Bangalore bowling: Unadkat 4-0-26-0, Christian 4-0-42-0, Vinay 4-0-27-3, Muralitharan 4-0-30-0, Murali Kartik 4-0-24-1.

Man-of-the-match: Chris Gayle.

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