Mumbai Indians v Royal Challengers Bangalore, IPL 2017, Mumbai May 1, 2017

Rohit masterminds tense chase to take Mumbai to top

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Mumbai Indians 165 for 5 (Rohit 56*, Buttler 33, Negi 2-17) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 162 for 8 (de Villiers 43, Negi 35, McClenaghan 3-34) by 5 wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

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Highlights - Mumbai qualify for playoffs

Rohit Sharma masterminded the regulation chase that became tight to give Mumbai Indians the lead in the standings, and put beyond doubt their qualification for the playoffs. It pushed the star-studded Royal Challengers Bangalore out of the tournament.

On a pitch that was drier than the usual Wankhede belters, Mumbai Indians batsmen kept getting out after getting in. Two big ones - Jos Buttler and Nitish Rana - fell to Pawan Negi, who firstly gave Royal Challengers something to bowl at with his 23-ball 35 and then followed up with figures of 4-0-17-2. That left Mumbai needing 65 off the last seven, with Kieron Pollard out and Krunal Pandya - who took the wicket of AB de Villiers once again - injured, but Rohit signalled a return to form with a cool chase whose feature was calculated blows. He ended up with 56 off 37 without taking any big risks as Mumbai won with one ball to spare.

One slower ball picked, another not picked

Royal Challengers changed their opening combination again with Mandeep Singh coming in ahead of Travis Head. This was one of the six they had tried in 11 matches. Mumbai were missing their ace defensive bowler, Harbhajan Singh, and his replacement Karn Sharma was one whom Virat Kohli fancies the most. They also had Mitchell McClenaghan who had good numbers against Kohli, but again the big bowler Jasprit Bumrah had struggled against his India captain.

Mumbai took the risk of bowling Karn in the fourth over, and that produced Mandeep's wicket, with a slog settling with the only man in the deep on the leg side. In the next over, Kohli showed ominous signs when he picked the near unpickable Bumrah slower ball and dropped him over cow corner for six. At the start of the next over, though, Kohli failed to pick the McClenaghan offcutter, and chipped an easy catch to midwicket. Royal Challengers 40 for 2 in the sixth over. McClenaghan to Kohli in IPL: 28 balls, 20 runs, four wickets.

De Villiers v Krunal, part 4

De Villiers is arguably the most dangerous batsman in the world. Krunal has not even played international cricket. He made his first-class debut last year. Yet, in Twenty20 cricket, Krunal had got de Villiers out every time he batted against his team. In this match, though, de Villiers looked a million dollars from the time he cut the third and fourth balls he faced for four and six. In Krunals' second over, de Villiers got a four and six more. The first one was a short ball, which Krunal doesn't want, but the second was a slog-sweep against the turn, which Krunal has been making de Villiers do. In Krunal's last over, de Villiers again pulled out the sweep for another massive six, reaching 43 off 26. The next ball, though, drifted a little bit more, and drew the edge from another attempted six.

Interestingly, in the innings break, de Villiers said he could see Rohit was looking to squeeze in a few overs of spin and didn't want to let him do that. Did Royal Challengers over-aim here? Shane Watson's wicket followed soon, and made it 108 for 5 in the 14th over.

Negi fights with the bat

Negi, though, made sure the familiar tale of Royal Challengers surrender didn't repeat itself. He took toll of Lasith Malinga and Bumrah after picking their slower balls, taking three sixes in the 18th and 19th overs. The McClenaghan slower ball, though, got him in the last over, and controlled the late damage. What looked like 150 had rocketed up to 170 but had settled at 162 now.

Negi fights with the ball

Despite the first-ball loss of Parthiv Patel, Buttler and Rana ran away to a quick start against the pace, taking Mumbai to 55 for 1 by the end of the Powerplay. Watson and Negi pulled them back, with Watson bowling tight seventh and ninth over and Negi taking the set batsmen out in the eighth and 10th. Pollard fell soon, taking two risks in one Yuzvendra Chahal over, making it 98 for 4 at the end of 13 overs.

Leave it to Rohit

Krunal, who had injured himself in the field, came out, presumably to counter spinners who were taking it away from right-hand batsmen, but found it too painful to carry on and walked back off. Mumbai did seem concerned about spin because they replaced him with another left-hand batsman, Karn Sharma. The one man not worried, though, was Rohit, who knew the asking rate was not enormous and waited for the occasional mistake from the bowlers.

A square drive and an extra-cover drive in the 15th over followed by a punch in the 17th kept the asking rate in check, but with 30 required in the last three, Rohit might have thought of the match against Rising Pune Supergiant that he couldn't finish off. He still remained cool, though, even with Aniket Choudhury bowling an exceptional 18th over with just five off the first five. Then a slower ball slipped wide, and the quicker ball was smacked for six by Hardik Pandya.

Mumbai needed one more such blow to seal this, and Rohit struck that blow with a sweep off S Aravind in the 19th over, placing the slower ball into the vacant square-leg region. Watson bowled a tight final over, but it was always going to tough defending just six.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  •   Anand Palwankar on May 2, 2017, 10:52 GMT

    Form is temporory & class is permenent. Rohit prooved it again. He played captains knock yesterday. More importantly his decision to play at no 4 is now showing the results. Remember last year in last MI's legue match against GL, it was lack of no 4 finisher damaged play off chances of MI. After brillient start from top order MI were fail to finish match. Rohit played as an opener last year. So the Captain Rohit made the huge decision of coming at no 4. Yesterday everybody has realised the importance of no 4 finisher. Its clear, Rohit is playing for the team, not for individual. Virat has made same big mistake in this IPL. After realising overall performance of RCB, he too should have come at no 4 for team as finisher. He should have let other players to perform there best at top like Rohit. Both Rohit & Virat has the ability to take game away at there will. But Virat didnt realise the situation and continued coming as an opener. Its not about individual qualities, but as a leader....

  • Shreyans on May 2, 2017, 10:34 GMT

    Good to see Buttler showing some of his class. Although, I'd love to see more games where he bats longer and gets a big score.

  • Sitaram on May 2, 2017, 10:19 GMT

    @viswa_93: wont make a difference whoever plays. They have simply lost the interest. Thats why you see those reckless shots. Gayle and Watson are useless too. They are more on the lines of pensioners.

  • Nimrod on May 2, 2017, 8:56 GMT

    Bangladeshi players would have performance better than RCB's Watson, Gayle, players like sabbir Rahman, tamim iqbal would do RCB good rather than having co sitting failures of Watson, head, Gayle.

  • Nimrod on May 2, 2017, 8:51 GMT

    Well done to mahela, MI players and co. Don't think malinga would be selected in the next IPL.

  • Shreyans on May 2, 2017, 8:45 GMT

    As an MI fan, I'm worried about Pollard's form. His position is an important one and his early dismissals are magnifying the difficulty of the chase case in point the games against GL and RCB. He should be replaced by Gunaratne,who can anchor the innings and hit if required,not to mention bowl some handy overs, given that MI won't tinker with their opening combo and bring back Simmons. After Buttler leaves, or maybe a game or 2 before the playoffs Simmons should be brought back. And I still feel MI need to bring Rayudu in, one way or another. He's been the champion in most of MI's important chases and no amount of fluke knocks from Parthiv can change that.

  •   Rasa Balakumar on May 2, 2017, 6:29 GMT

    Having coach like Mahela , very plus point for Mumbai since he is very young compared with other coaches and mahela has T20 experience as well compared with other coaches.

  • viswanath on May 2, 2017, 6:09 GMT

    Why is shane watson being wasted by playing him at 6. Please check his records for Rajastan Royals, when he opens the batting he has 2 centuries. On any day , I would make shane watson to open the batting. Next few matches watson must open with gayle, kohli at his normal position and AB de villers at 4.

  • vinay on May 2, 2017, 5:27 GMT

    what a joke it is they replace mandeep with binny every time nut the main thing is both are weste , No single performance yet but they got selected why???? any body has anwser no,only kohli knows

  •   Maverick_9 on May 2, 2017, 4:00 GMT

    The Jindal family will buy RCB next year and turn things around drastically. The retention clause will work in favour of RCB and it will be a strong team once again. If there is no retention in teams, then half the fans will stop watching IPL.

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