Rahane and Duminy renew Mumbai's hopes
Pushed into the corner after three successive defeats, Mumbai Indians turned in a fine all-round performance at St George's Park, converting a middling target of 158 into a match-winning one. Sachin Tendulkar failed with the bat, falling for a third-ball duck, but he didn't falter with his captaincy moves. Starting with the promotion of Ajinkya Rahane, who scored an unbeaten 62, it was the bowling changes which proved crucial in the end as they resulted in the fall of four wickets. The wheels came off Bangalore and the game was over when they needed an improbable 40 off the last two overs.
Mumbai had earned their revenge after being vanquished by Bangalore exactly a week ago at the Wanderers. Their defeat to Delhi Daredevils was just as demoralising when their batting imploded. Today, they reworked their batting order, turned in a much more commanding performance and lost just two wickets. A stand of 104 between Rahane and JP Duminy gave their comeback campaign a surge and the momentum rubbed off on the bowlers who all chipped in with equal measure to effect timely breakthroughs and in turn strangle the runs.
Bangalore had the momentum briefly early in the chase when Kallis whipped a couple of stylish boundaries through the on side. The introduction of Dwayne Bravo sent him back as he upper cut a short delivery straight to third man. Robin Uthappa's inconsistency showed up again as he slapped Kulkarni straight to short midwicket before Virat Kohli perished in the same manner. Kohli looked to get on top of the seamers but when Tendulkar brought on Chetanya Nanda, it immediately brought about a wicket.
The run-out of Rahul Dravid, done in by a flat throw from Malinga in the deep, sunk Bangalore and at the end of 10 overs, they were desperately in need of a recovery at 58 for 4. Ross Taylor heaved Nanda over deep square-leg to bring about the first six of the innings but the relief was only temporary as Malinga returned for a new spell and sent Taylor back with a lightning quick yorker. Malinga had set it up earlier in the over with similar deliveries and one could sense a wicket was around the corner.
Boucher at the other end tried to glue the chase together but the support wasn't forthcoming. Harbhajan returned for a new spell and sent back the dangerous Roelof van der Merwe thanks to a brilliant leg-side stumping by Yogesh Takawale. At the start of the 14th over, Bangalore ran out of specialist batsmen and by the end, needed 66 off the last six overs. Mumbai on the other hand managed 65 off their last six and that proved the difference.
Bringing back Sanath Jayasuriya gave the innings a much-needed push after Tendulkar's early fall. He ensured Mumbai held the edge in the first Powerplay with 46 on the board with a wicket down, a contrast to the way they started against Delhi where they struggled to find the ropes.
He fell soon after van der Merwe came into the attack but the spinners couldn't contain Rahane, who made the most of his promotion. He began by slogging Kumble over the on side, including a huge six over wide long-on on his knee.
His intention was to get positive against the spinners and he demonstrated that by regularly chipping down the track to smother the spin and loft inside out. Not all aerial shots found the boundary but it didn't matter as he and his partner Duminy kept rotating the strike.
Duminy broke the boundary drought - which lasted more than three overs - with a massive six, off a front foot pull, off the debutant Abhmanyu Mithun. That shot signalled his arrival after a quiet start as he lofted van der Merwe over his head and swung Vinay Kumar over backward square-leg for another half a dozen.
Between overs 11 and 14, Mumbai scored 25 runs. In the next three they managed 33, indicative of their revival. Rahane reached his fifty with a deft dab to third man and Duminy raced towards his as he went into fifth gear with some scorching drives through the off side. Mumbai went into the break with much cheer, and their bowlers stepped up to fashion a much-needed win to move up by one place in the points table. It will take a while to get up higher but at least they crossed the first hurdle.
Kanishkaa Balachandran is a sub-editor at Cricinfo