Bumrah’s sensational over
The equation was simple: RCB required 22 runs from their final two overs. Before that, they needed to see off Mumbai Indians’ irrepressible Jasprit Bumrah. Not surprisingly, he was on the mark, firing yorkers with pin-point precision. So much so that even the in-form DeVilliers, who was batting on 65, could not score of him. Bumrah conceded just five runs from the penultimate over, before prising out Colin de Grandhomme in the process. Needing 17 runs from the final over, Mumbai all-rounder Shivam Dube struck a thunderous six, but Malinga kept his cool to keep de Villiers’ belligerence in check.
RCB needed 7 runs from the final delivery off the match and Malinga would bowl a low full-toss to Dube which was swatted for a single. Mumbai, thus, etched out a narrow 6-run win. However, replays suggested that the final delivery was a no-ball as Malinga had overstepped the line. It was a big error in judgement on the part of the umpires. In case the umpires had got it right, RCB would have got a free-hit and altered the complexion of the game. Kohli was livid after the loss.
“We are playing at the IPL level, it’s not club level, the umpires should have their eyes open. That was a big no-ball. We should have done a better job with the ball after they were seven down. The last few overs were brutal for us. Bit of a mistake from me to take Bumrah on at that time. Bumrah makes a hell of a difference in any team,” he said. MI captain Rohit Sharma too spoke about the no-ball that the umpires missed. “I just got to know when we crossed the rope. These kind of games are not good for cricket,” he said. Sharma went on to point another umpiring blunder that had gone against his team. “In the previous over, a Bumrah deliveries wasn’t a wide. Players can’t do much. Very disappointed to see that.”
From the time he came to the crease, Kohli looked a man possessed. There’s been a lot riding on the line for the RCB captain in this IPL. From the arduous title drought to the underwhelming manner in which his team had capsized against the Chennai Super Kings five nights ago had intensified the scrutiny even more. Questions were being raised about his acumen as a leader in this format and so were some of decisions with regard to his team selection. On Thursday night, Kohli wanted to quell such talk. For starters, he had a match scenario, which he usually relished.
His team were chasing a fairly middling score of 188, and when the 30-year-old walked out to bat, RCB were 27/1 in the fourth over, having lost opener Moeen Ali through a run-out. Deafening chants of “Kohli…Kohli” had drowned the Chinnaswamy as he took strike. The home crowd knew their team were in with a definitive chance, because Kohli relished chases in the limited overs. He was desperate to take his team across the finish line.
Kohli looked around, took a deep breath seized the situation. On cue, his five scoring shots were all glorious boundaries, each more sublime than the other. In between Kohli’s sumptuous stroke-play, RCB would lose Parthiv Patel, their other incumbent opener. But the boisterous home crowd didn’t seem to mind. Because, out came their talisman AB de Villiers.
The 35-year-old, on his part, did look rusty upfront, biding his time to get into his groove. He was survived a chance early on, when he was dropped without even getting off the mark by Yuvraj at first slip off Mayank Markande’s bowling. But De Villiers trudged along, even as his captain looked unstoppable. Just when RCB’s experienced duo had got a measure of the chase, came a vital moment in the game. Kohli, batting on 46, mistimed a pull shot off Jasprit Bumrah’s bowling, handing Pandya an easy catch at square-leg. That shot also gave Mumbai a rare opening, or so it seemed. But Kohli’s exit brought a sense of exuberance into de Villiers, who had hitherto looked fairly subdued.
The South African star tore into Malinga, smoking him for a boundary and a brace of sixes in the 16th over to race past his half-century mark and bring the equation down to 41 runs from the final four overs. De Villiers has an impeccable record against the veteran Sri Lankan pacer in IPL, scoring 99 runs from 51 deliveries against him without ever getting dismissed to him. After the violent assault against Malinga, he collected 19 runs in the subsequent over from Pandya. The match ebbed and flowed further.
From the outset, Mumbai Indians were too conscious of the need to put up a gargantua score and bat Kohli’s team out of the match. With this mindset, Sharma and Quinton de Kock went on the offensive, hitting as many as 10 boundaries and a brace of sixes between them in Powerplay. This was a productive phase for Mumbai, in which they accrured 52 runs from 6 overs. At that stage, it looked like they were well on track to get past the 200-run mark.
However, a series of poor shot selection stifled their progress. Leading the attack for the home team was Chahal, who kept pegging away with zeal despite Yuvraj’s early onslaught. He was amply rewarded with telling strikes of De Kock, Suryakumar Yadav, Kieron Pollard and Yuvraj. Of these, he would consider Pollard’s dismissal a gift. It was a slow, wide loopy delivery which would effectively have been called a wide had the burly Trinidadian chose to leave it. Instead, he drew him forward and played half-hearted shot, spooning a simple catch to cover.
When Pollard was dismissed in the 16th over, Mumbai were in strife at 145/5. Hardik Pandya’s blitz towards the fag-end of the innings gave Mumbai’s the desired momentum. The all-rounder’s unbeaten 14-ball 32 comprised a six in the final over off Mohammad Siraj that hit the top tier. Pandya’s efforts notwithstanding, Mumbai finished at 187/8, which looked a par-score at the half-way mark.