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Sachin Tendulkar won the toss for the fourth time in this tournament and he decided to bat first. Mumbai made one change to the side that won against Guyana, including medium pacer Abu Nechim in place of left-arm spinner Ali Murtaza. The Royal Challengers Bangalore welcomed Jacques Kallis and Balachandra Akhil back into the playing XI. Manish Pandey and Dillon du Preez were the ones to miss out.
Praveen Kumar started well for Bangalore, bowling a maiden over first up to Shikhar Dhawan. At the other end, Tendulkar started with a boundary off the first delivery that he faced. Dhawan got off the mark with a six over mid-wicket off the first delivery of Praveen's second over. Tendulkar got a boundary a couple of deliveries later before Praveen made a come back. He bowled a lovely outswinger that movedÂ justÂ enough to take the outside edge of Tendulkar's (11) bat and the keeper did the rest. Things got better for Bangalore when R Vinay Kumar had Ambati Rayudu (3) caught at first slip in the next over. Disciplined bowling put Bangalore on top quite early in the match. JP Duminy tried to move around in the crease and unsettle the bowlers. But they made the necessary adjustments and managed to keep the batsmen quiet. The first six overs yielded just 36 runs for Mumbai.
Bangalore's bowlers had sent out a strong message and it was quite clear that the batsmen would have to earn every single run. Dhawan and Duminy needed to get a move on as soon as possible. Anil Kumble could have had Dhawan in his first over itself but Robin Uthappa missed a stumping opportunity. The partnership didn't carry on for too long though as Kallis had Duminy (10) caught at long on soon after. Mumbai were in a spot of bother. Excellent bowling from Kumble & co. restricted Mumbai to just 65 at the half-way stage. Dale Steyn was introduced into the attack in the 11th over of the innings and he was on target right away. Dhawan had slowed down considerably and he tried to set things right with a six and a boundary off Kallis. But Bangalore got back immediately with Steyn striking two big blows. He first had Dhawan (41) caught at mid-wicket and then got the big wicket of Kieron Pollard (0) who got a leading each that lobbed up nicely for Ross Taylor at cover. Mumbai were struggling at 83 for 5 after 13 overs and it was upto the last recognised pair of Dwayne Bravo and Saurabh Tiwary to give the score some respectability.
The innings got some impetus when Bravo got two consecutive boundaries off Kumble, the second one being a lucky outside edge that raced to the fence. The 100 of the innings was brought up in the 16th over. Tiwary decided to get a move on, swinging Kallis to the mid-wicket boundary before smacking Steyn out of the park an over later. Bravo got stuck into Kumble in the 18th over of the innings, smashing him for a couple of huge sixes before finishing the over with a boundary. For the first time in the match, Bangalore seemed to be under a bit of pressure. Tiwary picked up consecutive boundaries off the first two deliveries of the 19th over off Steyn but Bravo (29) coludn't replicate that and he holed out at mid-on a couple of deliveries later. Harbhajan Singh (14) got off the mark with a boundary down to third man. He struck a couple more in the last over before running himself out on the penultimate ball of the innings.
The late charge enabled Mumbai to reach a total of 166. Bangalore had the game under control for a large part of the innings. But cameos from Tiwary (38 n.o.) and Bravo helped Mumbai reach a score that had looked highly improbable at one point of time. Bangalore knew that it wasn't going to be an easy chase.
Zaheer Khan hadn't had a good tournament thus far and he didn't start off too well in this game either. The openers, Kallis and Dravid, picked up a boundary each off his first over. Kallis had a lucky escape when he edged a beauty from Malinga but the ball went through the gap between the keeper and wide slip. Zaheer was struggling with his length and Dravid cashed in, picking up consecutive boundaries in his second over. Bangalore had got the start that they wanted. The runs were coming at a good rate and both batsmen were looking quite comfortable out in the middle. Tendulkar brought Nechim on within the powerplay and he gave Mumbai the much needed breakthrough, trapping Kallis (15) plumb in front of the wicket with just his second delivery. Despite that loss, Bangalore were ahead at the end of the first six overs with 47 runs on the board for the loss of one wicket.
Uthappa offered an easy catch to Duminy early in his innings but the fielder failed to hold on. But the drop didn't prove costly as Uthappa played an uppish flick on the next delivery itself and this time Dhawan held on to the catch to give Bravo his first wicket. Dravid had got his eye in by now and it seemed that he would be anchoring the innings. Taylor (9) perished at the other end as his effort to smack Bravo out of the ground resulted in a top-edge that was held by the keeper. Dravid, meanwhile, was able to get boundaries at regular intervals and that kept the required run-rate under check. He reached his half-century in 39 deliveries but his job wasn't done yet. The required run-rate was slowly inching towards the ten runs per over mark and another close finish seemed to be on the cards. Bangalore reached three figures in the 14th over and that's when Harbhajan struck a big blow, taking out Cameron White's off stump with a yorker length delivery. The required rate was climbing and Kohli got a much needed six off the last ball of the 15th over to bring the equation down to 55 runs off the last five overs.
A tidy last over from Harbhajan followed by an equally good over from Malinga tilted the scales in Mumbai's favour. Bangalore were left to get 40 off the last three overs. Nechim came on to bowl the 17th over and Kohli welcomed him with a six off the first delivery. But the bowler made an excellent come back, giving away just 6 runs in the rest of the over. With 28 needed off the last two overs, Tendulkar turned to Malinga. The Sri Lankan pacer started well, but the pressure got the better of him and he missed with his yorkers on three consecutive deliveries. Kohli didn't miss though and he sent each of those balls to the fence. Kohli was playing a blinder and with 13 needed from the last over, anything was possible. Zaheer was given the responsibility of bowling the final over. He started with a couple of slower deliveries both of which resulted in singles. Kohli picked up a couple of boundaries in the next three deliveries on either side of a dot ball to take the match down to the last ball. With three needed to win, Kohli (47) tried to turn a full length ball down the leg-side but he top-edged it high up in the air. Wicketkeeper Rayudu got under it and took the catch to clinch victory for Mumbai by 2 runs.
Bravo won the man-of-the-match award for his all-round performance. Bangalore dominated the early part of the game and at 86 for 5 after 14 overs, it seemed Mumbai would struggle to reach even 150. But they got 79 runs in the last six overs and that shifted the momentum in Mumbai's favour. Bangalore started their chase in great fashion, but regular wickets in the middle overs pulled them back until Kohli got going. But in the end that wasn't good enough. Credit should also be given to Dravid who held one end up and kept Bangalore in the hunt. A 2-run victory was not good enough for Mumbai and it brought their campaign in the Champions League to an end. Bangalore will face the Highveld Lions in their last match of the group stage on Tuesday, the 21st of September and the winner of that encounter will make it to the semis.
Mumbai Indians: Shikhir Dhawan, Sachin Tendulkar (capt.), Ambati Rayudu (wk), JP Duminy, Saurabh Tiwary, Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Lasith Malinga Abu Nechim
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Jacques Kallis, Rahul Dravid, Robin Uthappa (wk), Ross Taylor, Cameron White, Virat Kohli, Balachandra Akhil, Praveen Kumar, Dale Steyn, Anil Kumble (capt.), R Vinay Kumar
Mumbai Indians 165 for 7 (20 overs, 8.25 rpo)
S Dhawan 41 (37) Â Â Â Â Â Â Â D Steyn 3-26
S Tiwary 38* (30) Â Â Â Â Â Â Â R Vinay Kumar 1-16
Royal Challengers Bangalore 163 for 5 (20 overs, 8.15 rpo)
R Dravid 71* (58) Â Â Â Â Â Â Â D Bravo 2-23
V Kohli 47 (24) Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â H Singh 1-32
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