Mumbai, April 20 (IANS) Leading from the front, skipper Rohit Sharma smashed 62 off just 44 balls to guide Mumbai Indians to a comfortable six-wicket victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore in an Indian Premier League (IPL) match at the Wankhede Stadium here on Wednesday.
Batting first, Bangalore managed 170/7 in 20 overs. Travis Head (37) was the top scorer for the side.
In reply, riding on Rohit’s innings and Kieron Pollard’s quick-fire unbeaten 19-ball 39, defending champions Mumbai chased down the total easily as they posted 171/4 in 18 overs to bag their second win of the season.
Iqbal Abdulla (3-40) was the pick of the bowlers for Bangalore.
Chasing a challenging target of 171, Mumbai got off to a poor start, losing opener Parthiv Patel (5) in the second over itself.
But his opening partner Rohit Sharma and incoming Ambati Rayudu (31) held on to score at a good pace without losing any further wickets to score 51/1 after the completion of the powerplay.
As Rayudu was looking set after striking five boundaries, off-spinner Iqbal Abdulla scripted the much-needed breakthrough for the visitors, removing the right-handed batsman to put Mumbai at 82/2 in the 11th over.
The duo struck a 76-run partnership for the second wicket.
Despite the fall of wicket at the other end, skipper Rohit used his experience to best effect to bring up his half century in 38 balls and keep the hosts on course towards the run chase.
But Abdulla struck for the second time to dismiss Rohit in the 13th over to put Bangalore back into the game. Mumbai were 109/3 at his point of the game.
New batsmen Kieron Pollard and Jos Buttler (13) held on for a couple of overs before the latter gave his wicket away in the 16th over.
But Pollard, who failed to impress in earlier matches, came up with a quick-fire knock, smashing four boundaries and three sixes to steer his team to second victory in the IPL-9.
Earlier put into bat, the visitors got off to a flying start, scoring 49 for the loss of one wicket after the completion of powerplay.
K.L. Rahul took the initiative at the start, smashing two fours and two sixes for his 14-ball 23, but the right-handed batsman fell in the fourth over to the bowling of Mitchell McClenaghan to give Mumbai their first breakthrough.
But the wicket did not stop incoming batsman AB de Villiers (29) and opener Virat Kohli (33) from playing their natural game.
The duo, who in the previous season smashed an unbeaten 215-run partnership at this venue against the same opposition, made batting look simple, piling on boundaries and sneaking in with twos at regular intervals to bring up a 50-run partnership for the second wicket in just 35 balls and help the team post 89/1 in 10 overs.
But the 11th over of the Bangalore innings saw a big twist in the game as off-spinner Krunal Pandya dismissed in-form Kohli (caught at long-off) followed by De Villiers (stumped) to bring Mumbai back into the game.
Bangalore, after the two quick blows, were reduced to 93/3.
Incoming batsman Shane Watson (5) too didn’t last long. Trying to guide an outside off stump delivery to third man, he eventually got a thin edge which was grabbed well by wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel.
Young Sarfaraz Khan (28) and Head held on to guide the team to 112/4 after the completion of 15 overs.
The right- and left-handed batting duo played sensibly to put up a much needed 50-run partnership for the fifth wicket in just 30 balls.
Jasprit Bumrah (3-31) and Krunal Pandya (2-27) were the pick of the bowlers for Mumbai.
Brief Scores: Royal Challengers Bangalore 170/7 in 20 overs (Travis Head 37; Jasprit Bumrah 3-31, Krunal Pandya 2-27) vs Mumbai Indians 171/4 in 18 overs (Rohit Sharma 62; Iqbal Abdulla 3-40)
(Aritra Chowdhury can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)