Synopsis: Mumbai finally get off the blocks. An insipid Gayle sucked the life out of the chase and there would be no deliverance from either AB or an unexpected challenger. (Full Coverage| Fixtures|Points Table)
Off the blocks
With four defeats in as many games, Mumbai Indians biggest woe had been their inability to find any stability at the top of their order. Their scores at the end of the powerplay overs (31/3, 31/1,17/3, 37/3) had left the Mumbai middle order doing a patch up job. In such a context, the hamstring injury to Aaron Finch in MI’s last game, was a bit of good fortune as it caused the partnership of Parthiv Patel and Lendl Simmons. While Patel would fall in the last over of the batting powerplay, the score read 48/1 at the end of six overs. The good start meant, Mumbai could pace their innings to perfection. Mumbai were 83/1 at the end of ten overs and would add another 126 in the final ten. Simmons, set the base with 59 off 44, while Unmukt Chand scored his IPL highest of 58 off 37. Rohit Sharma had license to explode and he scored 42 off 16 balls including 23 runs from the 17th over of the innings bowled by Abu Nechim.
One of the oldest cricketing cliches is the one that goes ‘catches win matches’. Mumbai’s Mitch McClenaghan must have heard of that one for he had his head in his hands off just the second ball of his spell. Chris Gayle had smashed a ball to Llendl Simmons at the covers but was reprieved. For all of McClenaghan’s fears, there would be absolutely no truth to the saying on this occasion. For if Gayle had been dismissed early, RCB might still have completed the chase. Another cliché is that Gayle is a slow starter and makes up for his early dot balls with big hitting towards the end of his innings. As the overs ticked by, with the Jamaican simply stuck on the crease, that prophecy too seemed bunkum. With the required run rate 10.84 at the start of the innings, Gayle played out a maiden over in the second bowled by Lasith Malinga. In the 8th over Gayle’s misery seemed to have ended when he clipped Jasprit Bumrah straight to Malinga at short fine leg. Malinga dropped the sitter. Gayle eventually fell in the next over bowled after giving Harbhajan the charge. He had made 10 off 24. RCB were just 49/2 after 8.1 overs and the required run rate had jumped to 13.7.
Dinesh Karthik may be the second most expensive Indian at the IPL auction but that seems hardly enough reason to send him ahead of Bangalore’s biggest hitter AB De Villiers. When Virat Kohli holed out in the 11th over, the required rate was now 15.57. De Villiers finally walked in and the next 23 balls could be described as surreal. With wickets falling around him — Dinesh Karthik would depart for a 11-ball 18 and Rilee Roussow for a first ball duck — De Villiers nearly swung the match around single handedly. Malinga was taken for 24 in the 13th over to bring the required rate down to 13. But there just was too much to do. De Villiers holed out off Bumrah to fall for a 11-ball 41.
An unexpected challenger
But there was yet life in RCB’s chase provided by the hitherto unknown David Wiesse, playing his first IPL game. Wiesse first kept RCB’s target chaseable with a return of 4/33, including three wickets in an over. Then after De Villiers dismissal, Weisse kept his side in the race with an unbeaten 25 ball 47. The chase would finally prove too much but Weisse more than had his pride intact.
As it happened…