By Abhishek Purohit (ESPNcricinfo)
Mumbai Indians slumped to their second defeat in as many matches against Royal Challengers Bangalore, who have now won two out of two. The defending champions struggled at the start, scratched around in the middle and crumbled at the death on a somewhat difficult surface seeing its first IPL match. For their opponents, it was the bowling again that set up the win, although their batsmen, minus the recovering Chris Gayle again, did not find it easy.
Mumbai’s problems began at the top as Michael Hussey and Aditya Tare failed to make good after being dropped on 1. Mitchell Starc and Albie Morkel found swing and seam to go with some pace and bounce, and the Mumbai openers were tied down. Tare was beaten several times for pace, especially on the short ball.
Even as Hussey departed, swinging Morkel to backward square leg, Varun Aaron’s speed and accurate back-of-a-length deliveries kept up the squeeze on Mumbai. Tare’s struggle ended when he connected a short ball only to top-edge it.
Then came the decisive spell of the game. Young legspinner Yuzvendra Chahal tossed it up liberally, and lured Rohit Sharma into a half-hearted loft to long-off. Chahal stuck to his approach, and earned another big wicket of Kieron Pollard in his next over, the batsman trying to launch a six but only going as far as long-on, where Sachin Rana jumped to collect a sharp catch.
Ambati Rayudu and Corey Anderson pushed Mumbai past 100 but they never looked in control as no Royal Challengers bowler provided them any release. Ashok Dinda went for just 14 in his four overs. Mumbai were to collapse from 101 for 4 to 115 for 9 in the last four overs, batsman after batsman slogging and holing out in the deep.
Royal Challengers were to be reduced to 17 for 3 in the chase. Nic Maddinson could not keep out an inswinging Lasith Malinga yorker. Zaheer Khan then nipped out Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh in the space of three deliveries. AB de Villiers was the new batsman in. He had Parthiv Patel for company, but with only Albie Morkel, Sachin Rana and the bowlers to follow, Royal Challengers needed the pair in the middle to do the bulk of the job.
Which was exactly what de Villiers and Parthiv did, putting on an unbeaten 99 run-partnership that brought up the win in the 18th over. They had their nervy moments, but hung around to steer their side home. Parthiv seemed to have thin-edged Malinga to the keeper with 41 needed off the last seven overs, but Mumbai did not even appeal. It might have made a difference, it may not have, but in the end, Mumbai just did not have enough runs to push Royal Challengers.