Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) succumbed to their seventh loss in eight matches in this season after Hardik Pandya’s onslaught on Pawan Negi, which ended the game in the penultimate over of the run-chase. Batting first, RCB had put up 171, primarily due to AB de Villiers, but Mumbai gunned down with relative ease.
Here are some of our key moments from the match:
World Cup-bound Jason Behrendorff gets rid of Kohli early
Jason Behrendorff had woken up to some exciting news on Monday morning. Australia had named their team for the 2019 World Cup and Behrendorff managed to squeeze into the side as the fifth seamer in spite of the presence of Mitchell Starc, another left-arm seamer effective with the new ball.
By no means Behrendorff’s selection was a given. He pipped guys like Josh Hazlewood and Kane Richardson to the team but his day turned even better at Wankhede in the night. Opening the attack on a spicy surface, Behrendorff got one to hold its line against Virat Kohli and eked out an inside edge from the RCB skipper. The cracking delivery gave Mumbai an early and important breakthrough in the match.
Akshdeep Nath defies AB de Villiers
AB de Villiers was threatening to take RCB to a total near 190 when Kieron Pollard’s brilliant fielding from the deep ensured the South African doesn’t get to face the last few balls of the innings. De Villiers has been merciless against Lasith Malinga in their match-ups in T20s. When these sides met earlier in the season, de Villiers hit Malinga for 25 in seven balls. At Wankhede on Monday, 23 came off the 8 balls he faced from the Lankan.
With five balls from Malinga left in the final over, de Villiers drilled one to long-on and after completing a single, looked to take a second run. Akshdeep Nath, his partner at the other end, sent him back sensing Pollard’s throw. It was in fact too good and the West Indian hit the stumps from the deep to catch de Villiers short. Had Nath sacrificed his wicket for de Villiers, RCB might have set up a better target for Mumbai.
When another Mumbai Indians bowler hit De Villiers on the head
The young West Indian tearaway, Alzarri Joseph, had shot to fame in the Caribbean Premier League a couple of years back when his pacy bouncer went on to hit AB de Villiers on the helmet. Joseph was out injured for Monday’s fixture (and perhaps even the whole of IPL) but Mumbai Indians still managed to find someone to disturb the South African batsman.
In the penultimate over, de Villiers, who was crouching low to be in a good position for the yorkers, was caught unaware as Bumrah pushed in a bouncer. De Villiers looked to hook the ball but missed it entirely and was hit on the side of the helmet. He was fine and went on to hit Malinga for a six off the first ball next over. With his knock of 75, de Villiers completed over 600 runs against Mumbai Indians in the IPL, the most he has against any team.
RCB’s powerplay woes
Royal Challengers Bangalore were the best bowling unit in the powerplay overs in terms of strike rate last year. Buoyed by Umesh Yadav’s effectiveness with the new ball, RCB were sharp in picking up early wickets in the season and finished as the most successful bowling side in the first six overs.
At Wankhede on Monday, they conceded a whopping 67 runs in the first six overs as Quinton de Kock took them to the cleaners. This was keeping in trend with RCB’s woeful performances in the first six overs this year with the ball. They have only taken three wickets in the powerplay overs in the eight matches played so far at a strike rate of 96, easily the worst by any team (Kings XI Punjab come a distant second with a strike rate of 41.1).
Their average of 140.33 is also the worst for any franchise in any season of the IPL in the powerplay overs. Interestingly, they chose to bowl just one over of spin in this phase even when their pacers have time and again been guilty of leaking too many runs early on. Chahal gave away just six runs in his only over in the powerplay at Wankhede while the pacers went for 61 in five overs.
Nehra’s poor advice
Four years ago in Chennai, Mumbai Indians needed 30 to win 12 balls when Pawan Negi was thrown at a young, and apparently reckless, Hardik Pandya. The Mumbaikar slammed three sixes in the over and eventually went on to win the match for Mumbai Indians.
Pandya has been in terrific form with the bat this IPL season. With the game in the balance until the 18th over on Monday, RCB knew that they had to silence the big hitting all-rounder to win the match. 22 runs were needed from two overs when Virat Kohli sought advice from his dugout as to whom to bowl at Pandya. AB de Villiers shook his head implying he was unsure. But Ashish Nehra pointed rather excitedly at Pawan Negi, suggesting he ought to be tried against Pandya.
Kohli took the word from his bowling coach and gave the ball to Negi. Pandya, in no mood to tolerate spin, blasted two sixes and two fours to take 22 from the over and win the match for Mumbai.
In hindsight, the call from Nehra proved to be disastrous for RCB. Incidentally, Nehra was with Chennai Super Kings in 2015 when Pandya had hit Negi for three sixes. Had RCB done a bit of research or if Nehra had a better memory, Mumbai might have had it hard to clinch to the game.