In a tournament packed wall-to-wall with muscular big-hitting batsmen, there’s something to be said for death-bowling.
Jasprit Bumrah and Lasith Malinga provided a fine demonstration of their rare skills at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium on Thursday, as Mumbai Indians prevailed over Royal Challengers Bangalore by six runs. A.B. de Villiers made a valiant unbeaten 70 (41 balls), but with 22 needed off the final two overs, Mumbai emerged on top.
Did he over-step?
Bumrah conceded only five off the 19th, before Malinga calmly defended 17 in the last over. There was a hint of controversy at the finish, though, as it appeared that Malinga had over-stepped while sending down his final delivery.
With 188 set for victory, a great deal rested on Virat Kohli, who had dropped down the order to three here. RCB seemed in control as long as the captain, who reached 5000 IPL runs, and de Villiers were at the crease. It was Bumrah who got rid of Kohli, a battle that felt pivotal to the outcome of the match. A short ball surprised the batsman, and he was caught at mid-wicket off a top-edge.
RCB needed 72 off 38 at that stage, with Malinga and Bumrah having two full overs in the bank. de Villiers, who had been dropped first ball by Yuvraj Singh off Mayank Markande at first slip, was unperturbed. He went after Malinga, smacking the Sri Lankan for successive sixes, as 20 runs came off the 16th over.
Bumrah was remarkably good, conceding only one off the 17th, but this see-sawing game seemed to have tilted back in RCB’s favour when de Villiers sent a pair of Hardik Pandya’s deliveries flying into the stands. Mumbai, though, would have the last laugh.
Earlier, a late Hardik assault helped Mumbai recover from a dramatic collapse. The all-rounder blazed his way to an unbeaten 14-ball-32, laced with three towering sixes, as Mumbai gathered 40 runs off the last three overs. Hardik has staggeringly fast hands and he was in full flow here, clobbering Mohd. Siraj first into the second tier and then onto the roof.
His intervention was timely for Mumbai, which had run into trouble after Rohit Sharma (48, 33b) and Suryakumar Yadav (38, 24b) had helped lay something of a platform.
The former’s exit brought to the crease Yuvraj Singh, who hammered three sixes in a row off Yuzvendra Chahal. But the leg-spinner came back, having Yuvraj caught on the boundary as he attempted a fourth consecutive six.
It was Chahal who triggered the collapse from this point. Having conceded 30 runs off his first 2.3 overs, he took three for eight off his last nine balls, removing Yuvraj, Suryakumar, and Pollard. Chahal finished with four for 38.
When Krunal Pandya and Mitchell McClenaghan fell, Mumbai had lost five for 23 in 3.4 overs.
Hardik’s effort, though, made the difference.