Mumbai, May 9: Royal Challengers Bangalore opener Chris Gayle's unbeaten knock (82) helped his side cruise to a 9-wicket victory over Mumbai Indians in their IPL 5 clash at the Wankhede Stadium on Wednesday night.
[Scorecard: MI vs RCB]
Despite a strong bowling attack, Mumbai Indians failed to stop Gayle blast around the park. Gayle stayed right through the end along side Virat Kohli, who smashed a six to secure a easy win with two overs to spare.
The West Indies giant mastered his knock throughout the innings to guide his side to a much-needed victory. On a wicket which suited bowlers, Gayle started off slowly to add a steady 48-run opening stand with Tillakaratne Dilshan after surviving the crucial test facing Lasith Malinga in the first six overs.
Off-spinner Pragyan Ojha dismissed Dilshan, who made a quiet 19 off 25 balls. But despite the slow start, Gayle raised the momentum after smashing three consecutive sixes off Ojha, cruising to his sixth half-century in 36 balls. He remained unbeaten at 82 off 59 balls smashing six sixes and five boundaries.
After the fall of Dilshan, stand-in skipper Virat Kohli played the supporting role at the non strikers end. The Gayle-Kohli duo added an unbeaten 94 runs for the second wicket at the rate of almost 10 per over, to secure a comprehensive victory for Bangalore.
Mumbai all-rounder Dwayne Smith turned hero to zero when he dropped Gayle early when on just 21 runs in the sixth over. Malinga failed to claim a wicket but gave away only 20 runs in a tight four-over spell. Skipper Harbhajan Singh was impressive with 18 runs in four overs.
With this win, Royal Challengers jumped to fourth spot with 13 points. RCB now have a great opportunity to make it to the play-offs.
Luck was not on their side this time as Mumbai's batting cost them a chance to seal a semi final berth, but they sit on third spot with 14 points and can still have a go for the play-offs.
Mumbai Indians innings report
Batting first, Mumbai Indians were restricted to 141/6 in 20 overs.
Mumbai have lacked a big start upfront but have managed to defend low totals with the help of their bowling attack. Mumbai's top-order yet again failed to provide a decent start against Bangalore.
Bangalore pacer Vinay Kumar struck twice in his first over to shatter Mumbai Indians. Mumbai were shocked at the start with a score 2/2 when opener James Franklin's shot went straight to third man for a simple catch to Zaheer Khan and Rohit Sharma (0) was trapped lbw after two deliveries.
Mumbai's icon Sachin Tendulkar failed to recover after two early blows. Despite adding a steady 39 runs with wicketkeeper batsman Dinesh Karthik, Mumbai were struggling after the dismissal of the Master Blaster who scored a steady 24-ball 27 with four boundaries.
Ambati Rayudu and Karthik added a crucial 44-run to revive Mumbai's innings in the middle overs. RCB bowler Harshal Patel dismissed Rayudu (22) to restrict Mumbai's run-flow.
Legendary spinner Muttiah Muralitharan's double strike in the 16th over rattled Mumbai's middle-order as they lost two important batsmen, Karthik and last games hero Dwayne Smith (2). The wicketkeeper top-scored (44) for Mumbai Indians with three fours and a six.
Mumbai added 18 runs to their total off the last-over including two sixes from all-rounder Kieron Pollard, who added 41 runs off 25 balls along with skipper Harbhajan Singh (20).
Muralitharan claimed two wickets for 24 runs in his four-over spell while pacers Patel and Kumar also took two apiece.
Royal Challengers Bangalore stand-in skipper Virat Kohli won the toss and opted to bowl first against Mumbai Indians in Mumbai.
Royal Challengers have made several changes in their playing XI, Saurab Tiwary returns for Asad Pathan. Vinay Kumar replaces Prashanth Parameswaran while Abhimanyu Mithun is benched bringing in Harshal Patel.
West Indies all-rounder Kieron Pollard returns for Mumbai Indians after recovering from a shoulder injury, Robin Petersen sits out in his place. Off-spinner Pragyan Ojha replaces pacer Munaf Patel.
A crucial encounter for both sides, Mumbai Indians clash against the Royal Challengers for the first time in this season's IPL. Both teams will look to seal victory as Royal Challengers need a win to move up the table while Mumbai will aim to equal their points tally with Delhi Daredevils (16).
With three wins in a row, Mumbai Indians are on third spot with 14 points while Bangalore sit at seventh place with 11 points in 11 games.
Batting seems to be a huge concern for both sides. The Royal Challengers have been dependent on the Gayle-de Villiers duo for most of the season, while the Mumbai Indians middle-order is struggling to perform.
Mumbai Indians: Harbhajan Singh (Captain), Sachin Tendulkar, James Franklin, Dinesh Kartik, Lasith Malinga, Kieron Pollard, Pragyan Ojha, Rohit Sharma, Rudra Pratap Singh, Ambati Rayudu, Dwayne Smith.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (captain), Mayank Agarwal, Syed Mohammad, Harshal Patel, AB de Villiers (wicketkeeper), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Chris Gayle, Zaheer Khan, Saurab Tiwary, Muttiah Muralitharan, R Vinay Kumar.
Umpires: Billy Bowden (New Zealand) and Vineet Kulkarni (India)
Third umpire: Shavir Tarapore (India)
Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle (Sri Lanka)