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The Mumbai Indians maintained their 100% record against Bangalore at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, picking up their 5th win in as many visits to power themselves to the top of the IPL points table, level on points with the Delhi Daredevils. The result all but guarantees Mumbai a spot in the play-offs, and puts them in serious contention to play the qualifier between teams 1 and 2 rather than the eliminator between the 3rd and 4th sides. The match itself was a tense affair which went down to the final over. A career best unbeaten 64 from 30 balls from young Mayank Agarwal helped Bangalore post a more than handy 171/6 in their 20 overs. The match looked in the bag for Bangalore when Mumbai slumped to 51/5 in 9 overs, but an unbeaten 122 runs partnership between Ambati Rayudu (81) and Kieron Pollard (52) saw Mumbai sneak home in the last over with 2 balls to spare.
With just a point separating the two sides coming into this game, the Mumbai Indians made the trip down to a wet and wild Bangalore to take on the Royal Challengers. The weather delayed the start of the contest, and with an 8pm game to follow, there wasn't a lot of bonus overtime to work with today. With Duckworth-Lewis looking almost certain to play a role, it came as no surprise that Mumbai opted to bowl first on winning the toss.
The Royal Challengers Bangalore named an unchanged side for this game, while Mumbai made just the one change with RP Singh returning to the playing eleven for Pragyan Ojha as they went for a predominantly seam attack hoping to take advantage of some early moisture on a track that would have been sweating under the covers for the last hour or so.
RCB were in their changed 'green strip' today, promoting a green environment like they did last season. The first battle of the day was Chris Gayle vs Munaf Patel, and after 5 dot balls to open proceedings, Gayle planted the final delivery of the over from Munaf into the stands for the first 6 of the day. Patel got his own back though in the very next over with the West Indian uncharacteristically changing his approach by attempting to play a shot a ball, and while attempting a wild heave chopped the ball onto his stumps to fall for 6. Two balls later Bangalore were in complete disarray with Kohli run out at the non-striker's end for 3 thanks to a brilliant diving stop at backward point by Herschelle Gibbs, who also had the presence of mind to choose the right end to throw at to leave the hosts in trouble at 11/2.
After 4 perfect overs which brought Bangalore just 13 runs, Munaf Patel bowled one of the worst overs of the season to gift the hosts the advantage. Three no-balls and a wide helped Bangalore pinch 21 runs off the over to bring the innings back on track. Lasith Malinga was unfortunate not to add to the wickets in the final over of the powerplay with two half-chances going Sourabh Tiwary's way to give the hosts a lifeline. Tiwary's luck though ran out in the very next over as he fell hit-wicket to Harbhajan Singh, just a ball after smashing the Mumbai captain for a straight six.
Dilshan and AB de Villiers were charged with the job of building a partnership, and the duo saw the team through to 69/3 at the half-way stage of the innings. 16 runs from the 11th over off Harbhajan, showed RCB's intent of getting a move on, but their aspirations of setting a competitive target suffered a massive setback when De Villiers fell for 14 to Kieron Pollard in the very next over.
Dilshan found a capable partner in young Mayank Agarwal, and the duo added 46 crucial runs in 6 overs to guide Bangalore closer to a competitive score. RP Singh finally broke the partnership in the 18th over uprooting Dilshan's off stump with a full toss to end his innings for 48. Some suicidal running by Vinay Kumar a couple of balls later saw him run out for 1 as RCB slipped to 134/6.
Mayank Agarwal though helped Bangalore finish strongly, hitting Malinga for a rare four and a six in the penultimate over before taking Munaf Patel to school in the final over, smashing 24 runs in the final over to propel himself to his maiden IPL half-century, ending with an incredible 64 from 30 balls to propel the score to 171/6.
Mumbai made a nightmare start to their response, losing their top three batsmen inside four overs. Sachin Tendulkar fell for a first ball duck, caught at short cover, off his Mumbai Ranji teammate Zaheer Khan. Three balls later Herschelle Gibbs ran himself out attempting a non-existent third run, and Mumbai's innings was in tatters at 4-2. A couple of overs later the ever improving Vinay Kumar showed just why he was worth a million dollars, removing the in-form Rohit Sharma caught and bowled for 5.
With the team in desperate need of a partnership, Dinesh Karthik and Ambati Rayudu buckled down to put some runs on the board. The duo added 25 for the fourth wicket before the former threw his wicket away in Muttiah Muralitharan's first over, attempting to loft the bowler for a maximum, but unable to clear the fielder in the deep. Things got worse for Mumbai just moments later when Harshal Patel removed Dwayne Smith for 6 to leave Mumbai in a world of trouble at 51/5 in 9 overs.
Kieron Pollard looked to give the Mumbai innings a boost, smashing young KP Appanna for consecutive sixes in the 11th over to signal his intentions right from the off.
A 15 minute delay due to a light tower failing did not halt the Mumbai charge with Ambati Rayudu and Kieron Pollard stitching together a useful partnership to keep their side in the contest. At the end of 15 overs, Mumbai had made their way to 106/5, and needed 66 from the last 30 deliveries to steal an unlikely win.
Rayudu, who brought about his half-century in 41 balls, cut loose shortly after, and in the company of Pollard, Mumbai took 16 off Zaheer Khan's third over to ruin his figures. Another 18 off Vinay Kumar in the next over brought the equation down to a very gettable 23 from 12 balls. Zaheer Khan kept Rajasthan in the contest by conceding just 9 off the next over to leave Mumbai needing 14 to win from the final over, but unfortunately rookie skipper Virat Kohli had messed up his bowling plans, leaving himself with the option of using Chris Gayle (who bowled 2 overs for 25 thus far), Appanna (1 over for 19) or Kohli himself as the only available bowling options.
The ball was tossed to Gayle, and Pollard made it an easy win for Mumbai spanking a six and two boundaries on consecutive deliveries to see Mumbai home with 2 balls to spare.
Mumbai are in action again in a couple of days when they entertain the Kolkata Knight Riders in a top of the table clash that has taken on new meaning. The Royal Challengers meanwhile head to Delhi to take on the Daredevils on Thursday in what could well turn out to be a must win game for them.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: T Dilshan, C Gayle, V Kohli (c), S Tiwary, AB de Villiers (wk), M Agarwal, KP Appanna, Z Khan, H Patel, Vinay Kumar, M Muralitharan.
Mumbai Indians: H Gibbs, S Tendulkar, R Sharma, D Karthik, A Rayudu, D Smith, K Pollard, Harbhajan Singh (c), L Malinga, RP Singh, M Patel.
Royal Challengers Bangalore 171/6 (20 overs, 8.55rpo)
T Dilshan 48 (50) K Pollard 1-20
M Agarwal 64* (30) RP Singh 1-23
Mumbai Indians 173/5 (19.4 overs, 8.79rpo)
A Rayudu 81* (54) M Muralitharan 1-16
K Pollard 52* (31) H Patel 1-25
Mumbai win by 5 wickets with 2 balls to spare
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