Mumbai Indians managed to sail through the complicated points table to grab the 3rd spot as the tournament reached its midway. After a much awaited declaration of India’s World Cup squad for the upcoming ICC tournament in England, focus shifted towards the iconic ground of Wankhede stadium, located at the heart of Mumbai known as “city of dreams.”
Similar to it, RCB and the Indian skipper, Virat Kohli marched along with his troops with a hope to carry ahead the slightest of momentum attained in their last outing against Kings XI Punjab, where Bangalore managed to put their 1st points of the season on the points table. With an aim for a clean sweep over the visitors this season, Rohit & Co battled it out to regain their lost momentum at home after facing defeat against the Rajasthan Royals in its previous encounter by 4 wickets. The battle turned out to be a high-scoring thriller, usually expected from a MI-RCB clash.
Considering the hot and humid conditions with dew factor to play a major role in the 2nd innings, Rohit Sharma put in the Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers to bat first. With the buzz revolving around the return of Dale Steyn for RCB and an exciting contest to witness between Lasith Malinga of Mumbai was not fulfilled as the former was missing from the action. Accompanied by his captain, Parthiv Patel faced the MI bowling dominated by the SL slinga, Malinga and Jason Behrendorff. Rohit’s decision to field turned out to be fruitful when the Aussie pacer got the prise scalp of Kohli in the 3rd over as the RCBian skipper caught his inside edge, only to be snapped by De Kock behind the stumps. However, the services of Kohli were short-missed as AB de Villiers and Moeen Ali slowly kick off to re-build the innings. The duo engaged in a healthy partnership which sailed the innings of the Reds to a respectable position, seemingly impossible post dismissals of both of its openers.
With 7 overs to spare at 97/2, Moeen-AB desperate to make a strong move, anchored the innings with no further loss of wicket which played a major role to en route at 144/2 in 17 overs. Malinga was successful in shattering the partnership in his 2nd spell as he showed the Ali way back to pavilion after the Englishmen was looking to settle for big. The veteran Lankan pacer shattered the lower batting order of the hosts comprising of Stoinis, Akshdeep Nath & Pawan Negi as the trio fell prey to the pace and variation of Malinga. AB de Villiers, single-handedly guided the team to a total of 171/7, contributing 75 runs laced with six boundaries and 4 maximums.
Chasing 172 at home, MI fans expected a repeat performance similar to KXIP to regain its lost momentum against RR in a high-scoring game. Off to a flying start, Mumbai were able to find boundaries at ease with the WK-captain opening pair of Quinton de Kock- Rohit Sharma. Seeming to be at a comfortable position at the end of first powerplay with 67 runs added on the scoreboard with no loss of wicket, the run chase appeared to be a cakewalk for the home side. However, MI were unaware of the indication of further dominance by the English All-rounder, Moeen Ali who managed to struck twice in the same over within a space of 4 deliveries which saw both the MI openers fell prey. The burden of carrying ahead the show was on the Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan who had an average tournament so far. A composed and handy knock by the duo helped the hosts to close in the target gap. As the hosts were moving ahead to yet another partnership, Yuzvendra Chahal stood true to his captain decision of roping him at crucial situation. The optimistic right -arm legbreak stepped in the shoes of his teammate Moeen Ali to apply brakes to the accelerating form as Yadav and Kishan. Yuzi struck twice with priceless scalps of both the batsmen in his successive overs.
The main action waited post the completion of the strategic time-out with the responsibility of emerging victorious for the home side on the Pandya brothers. Navdeep Saini and Mohammed Siraj fastened the chances for RCB with back to back overs. Siraj invited Pollard on the ground which saw the crowd to cheer. However the latter didn’t expect to be a mere spectator from the other side of the wicket. Hardik Pandya sailed Mumbai towards the winning runs in a dramatic manner. The pressure was on the junior Pandya to finish it off for MI as the situation demanded 22 off the last 2 overs. A 16-ball 37* by Hardik heped Mumbai Indians register their 5th win of the season and sit at 3rd position of points table as the competition touched its half of the journey.
MI will face their next 4 matches away from home in form of Delhi Capitals, Rajasthan Royals, Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders before the action returns to Mumbai.
Here is how Twitter reacted to the fireworks at the Wankhede stadium:
— Mumbai Indians (@mipaltan) April 15, 2019
.@hardikpandya7 easily the best all-rounder in the country currently. Returning from suspension, has mean and hungry look about him too
— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) April 15, 2019
— R P Singh रुद्र प्रताप सिंह (@rpsingh) April 15, 2019
Top knock by Ishan. 9 ball 21 will neither inflate his averages nor will it be remembered after a couple of games. But made an invaluable contribution tonight. Excellent. #MIvRCB
— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) April 15, 2019
Mumbai Indians have now won three of their last four matches and are third in the league. They are in this position despite not playing anywhere near their best cricket – their bowling remains inconsistent & their middle order very fragile. #IPL #MIvRCB
— Freddie Wilde (@fwildecricket) April 15, 2019