Mumbai Indians v Royal Challengers Bangalore, IPL, Mumbai April 27, 2013

Mumbai quicks trump RCB batting might


Mumbai Indians 194 for 7 (Smith 50, Karthik 43) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 136 for 7 (Kulkarni 3-19) by 58 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

In five overs of high-quality fast bowling, easily the best cricket seen in this IPL, Mitchell Johnson and Lasith Malinga pushed Chris Gayle and Tillakaratne Dilshan into a corner with accurate, fast and hostile short-pitched bowling. The batsmen had been severely restricted; Dhawan Kulkarni and Harbhajan Singh then came on to pin them and consign Royal Challengers Bangalore, the table leaders, to a 58-run defeat.

In Royal Challengers' previous match, Gayle had scored 175 and added 167 runs with Dilshan to encourage superlatives that would have you believe it was impossible to bowl to Gayle. Nobody informed Johnson and Malinga, though. This was a similar pitch to the one in Bangalore where Gayle caused the mayhem. The outfield was similarly small, top edges flew for sixes here too, but unlike the opposition then, Johnson and Malinga had the pace, and they were prepared to bounce Gayle.

Gayle likes to bide his time, is unhurried, and plays percentage cricket, seemingly at will. He wasn't allowed to do any of that. He did play a flat pull early in the chase when Johnson bowled one into the ribs, managing to smack it to deep midwicket for six. Johnson didn't back off. He placed a deep midwicket, and went back to bouncing Gayle some more. Now he began to get the ball higher.

And Malinga, he has never been hit for a six by Gayle in the IPL. He wasn't about to today. However, Malinga's first over was dedicated to making life difficult for countryman Tillakaratne Dilshan. One swing-and-miss followed another as Malinga kept swinging the away from Dilshan. At 10 for 0 after two overs, the openers were shaken. Stirring was to begin soon.

First came the shot you will rarely ever see Gayle play: the ramp. Johnson got one to bounce disconcertingly towards the throat, and Gayle tried to clear slips with an open face. This one bounced extra, caught the glove, and the lob just about evaded the slips. Dilshan immediately took a single to send Gayle back to face the chin music. Johnson continued with two more bouncers, Gayle pulled at both, but in a different postal code. Beaten by the bounce on both occasions.

In the next over, Malinga hit him on the left shoulder, the rear shoulder. This was no slower bouncer, Malinga bowled it like he meant to. He followed it up with a superb yorker. Thankfully Mumbai didn't back off, as T20 generally encourages teams to do. Johnson got a third over. He beat Gayle with a left-armer's outswinger. Gayle was caught on the crease, expecting a bouncer. This was more Suresh Raina than Gayle. He was well and truly out of his comfort zone.

Gayle did get two fours off mis-hits in that fifth over, but still he was only 17 off 16, and Dilshan 13 off 14. This was a rude shock for Royal Challengers. On came Kulkarni, a lesser bowler of lesser pace playing his first game of the season, but the task for Royal Challengers wasn't much lesser. Bowling on a pitch he knows as well as the back of his hand, Kulkarni got bounce and away movement, Dilshan went after it, and Johnson completed a special catch at third man. You couldn't keep Johnson out of action.

In the next over, Rohit Sharma introduced Harbhajan Singh, who teased Gayle with flight and slow pace. Gayle slog-swept, got a thick edge, and it took the best of Ambati Rayudu - who had been run out earlier when a bowler inadvertently knocked his bat out of the crease - to take the catch at cow corner. It kicked off wild celebrations, and Harbhajan pulled out an improvised version of Gangnam-style.

Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers were too stunned, and followed shortish and wide deliveries and guided them to the keeper. Kulkarni had helped kill the game in the eighth over of the chase. To be fair to Gayle, though, he has been tested before, and he endures those spells even if it means he has to wait for 10 overs. Tonight, though, Mumbai had got the strategy and execution right. They didn't want to give Gayle that freedom, which usually comes with batting first. And they also put on 194 on the board, which meant the pressure of asking rate accumulated with every bouncer that beat him.

The 194 came thanks to a calculated assault by Sachin Tendulkar at the top of the game, followed by Dwayne Smith's second consecutive half-century, and the hitting by Dinesh Karthik and Kieron Pollard towards the end. Tendulkar cleared the infield well during the Powerplay overs; he tried just that as opposed to going for big sixes in his 13-ball 23. Smith then hit the big sixes. Karthik was industrious in his 43 off 33, and Pollard hit even bigger sixes when he hit 34 off 16.

Put together, they set the perfect platform for the fast bowlers, who in turn had evidently grown a leg.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on April 29, 2013, 6:50 GMT

    Wait and watch RCB is not done yet!!!!!

  • Dummy4 on April 29, 2013, 5:42 GMT

    Minus Galye and AB,, RCB dont have anything in their team to give them victory,,,, How many close matches their bowlers won??,, almost all matches won when these two fires,,, its dangerous dependancy,,,that will sink them,, like last year

  • Kris on April 29, 2013, 2:16 GMT

    Gayle's style is perhaps more suited to a champion team rather than the mediocre WI side that Chanderpaul suits more to. We can't say how successful Gilchrist would have been, if played for a weaker side. I still think Gayle has in him to make all these theorists eat their words.

  • Harmon on April 28, 2013, 18:54 GMT

    Nothing's wrong in Kohli's appeal to remove Rayudu. Some people do not understand that as a competitor one does not see if it is a domestic match or an Intl match. In fact, domestic matches should be used as crucibles to toughen up players so that they are ready for the abuse and are more aware of the situation in bigger matches. Did one see how Wade with a handful of matches under his belt was seen as abusing Rohit in the CB Series after a rejected run out appeal? Rohit had no answers to him. Some would say that one should keep quiet but those days are gone. Now are the times to give it doubly back. We have seen how Sachin was given out vs Pak in Kolkata 99, what happened there? We saw how Lee got Sachin run out in the CB Series, dint we? We saw how D Hussey got away with Obstructing The Field.

    It is high time we Indians learnt to play the game as per the rules - and learnt to stretch the rules as much as permitted.

  • Dinesh on April 28, 2013, 18:48 GMT

    @jasonpete, that is exactly what i thought of saying to GRVJPR. @GRVJPR, Please don't compare Kohli with the World's best Captain, the best in character, the one who shows how to tackle the situations in an excellent way... Kohli's attitude is very worst and he needs to improve on it.

  • Ashok on April 28, 2013, 13:03 GMT

    "Kohli Lays into Jeering Crowd" is the heading in another blog. While Vinay was backing to collect the ball, he involuntarily also removed Rayudu's bat from going into the crease & hence resulting in a Run Out. Third Umpire was wrong in declaring Rayudu OUT- Vinay pushed Rayudu's bat to make his own way. It was clearly wrong decision by the Umpire. There was adequate room to show some "sportsmanship" on part of the Captain who also threw down the WKT. Mishra withdrew his appeal for runout when the batsman Watson hit the ball & it touched Mishra's fingers on the way to catch Dravid backing up too far out of the crease. There is huge lesson for Kohli to learn instead of showing his temper once more. If he persists with this immature & win at all cost attitude, he will be jeered whether he plays for RCB or India. It is sad that some of the modern cricketer lack the "Cricket Ettiquete"! Mr. Kohli, Learn from old time Cricketers (Umrigar/Hazare) who had humility & grace+ superb batsmen.

  • Chatty on April 28, 2013, 11:12 GMT

    I think it is highly unrealistic to expect Gayle to play the way he did the other day, against Malinga (the best fast bowler in T20) and someone like Johnson (when he is on fire). But it was brilliant to watch. What goes up, comes down!

  • Dummy4 on April 28, 2013, 9:34 GMT

    I loved the way Mumbai played their game. They were hunting in packs. Batting or bowling, they were always two heroes at a time. Smith said they were ready and boy, were they!

  • John on April 28, 2013, 8:33 GMT

    @Webba84 on (April 28, 2013, 4:22 GMT) Yes I know - that's why I put he needed to go (asin be dropped) as he was the weak link

  • GAURAV on April 28, 2013, 7:51 GMT

    @jasonpete Kohli has only played 2 away subcontinenent series he was excellent in australia with a commanding century and 75 at perth where he was left with tailenders and last man out. Please enligheten me with even 1 innings of dhoni out of subcontinent where he comes close to kohli!