Against RCB, Mumbai bowlers come alive in ‘graveyard’ of Chinnaswamy

  • Somshuvra Laha, Hindustan Times, Bengaluru
  • Updated: May 12, 2016 16:37 IST
Mumbai Indians’ Jos Buttler (right) and Kieron Pollard celebrate after the win over Royal Challengers in Bengaluru on Wednesday. (Hindustan Times)

A good bowling performance and the Chinnaswamy Stadium rarely go hand-in-hand. This, however, was not one of those days where teams could have their way with the bat.

Desperate to claw their way to the safety of the top four on the points table, Mumbai Indians came up with a bowling display that could have been easily termed clinical, had it not been the 18th over where Kieron Pollard leaked 23 runs.

Still, it was enough to get the job done at a ground considered to be a graveyard for bowlers, especially the quicker kind.

If an economy of seven and under is considered gold in the IPL, the bar goes up to at least eight if not slightly more in Bengaluru. Considering that, the Mumbai pacers did their job with distinction. Not only did Tim Southee and Mitchell McClenaghan keep it tight at the start, they also took the crucial wickets of Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli. Jasprit Bumrah didn’t get his scalp but if it’s Bengaluru he has to bowl the penultimate over. At the venue where India first got a glance of Bumrah three years back, he conceded just seven and prevented Royal Challengers from upping the ante after a poor over by Pollard.

If their pacers were impressive, Mumbai’s spinners were remarkable. Apart from averaging just 3.75 in his four overs, Krunal Pandya also ended up dismissing AB de Villiers twice this tournament. Not reading Pandya’s quicker delivery, the South African miscued a pull that was accepted by Ambati Rayudu at deep midwicket.

In the context of the match, it was a sucker punch that allowed Harbhajan Singh to concede just four the next over and push RCB closer to the edge. Thanks to KL Rahul and Sachin Baby though, they didn’t keel over.

What RCB didn’t have adequately was spin options. As long as Yuzvendra Chahal bowled, the visitors looked pressed. He almost lured Rayudu into a stumping but could have possibly been more effective had another spinner operated in tandem. RCB’s pacers had come to the fore before that when Sreenath Aravind got rid of Parthiv Patel early in the second over. When Varun Aaron got rid of Rohit Sharma, the game was hanging in balance.

What they lacked in batting, RCB tried to make up with their fielding too. Stuart Binny pulled off a stunning catch off Nitish Rana at cover boundary. The stadium found its voice back when de Villiers ran in almost 10 yards to hold on to a low catch of Rayudu. Pollard however wasn’t done with the game. Along with Jos Buttler, he mopped up the win.

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