Mumbai v Bangalore, 1st semi-final, IPL, Mumbai April 21, 2010

Settled Mumbai no one-man show

Cricinfo staff
Bangalore's sloppiness with both bat and ball eased Mumbai's deserved path to the final

The heart of the matter is easy enough to locate. The Mumbai Indians, the only consistent team in this year's IPL, deserved to be in the final. Bangalore, who lost six of their last nine league games after starting so strongly, didn't. Bangalore never quite figured out what their strongest XI was, especially once Kevin Pietersen and Ross Taylor returned from international duty, and their sloppiness with both bat and ball eased Mumbai's path to the final.

As Anil Kumble was to say later, Bangalore did alright for two-thirds of the game. For 15 overs with the ball, they kept things under control, restricting a powerful line-up to just 107 runs, albeit on a pitch that was taking a fair bit of turn. Then, with the bat, they were well on course for nine overs. Two wickets in two balls though, and the game was pretty much up.

In truth, they should never have had to chase 185. When Pietersen finished a tidy spell by conceding just four in the 15th over, the pressure was on Saurabh Tiwary and Ambati Rayudu, neither with any international experience, to inject some impetus into the innings. Tiwary rode his luck as 17 came from a Jacques Kallis over and the match was transformed when the miserly Kumble (1 for 13 from his first three overs) was taken for 17 in his final over punctuated by two no-balls.

Dale Steyn returned to dismiss Rayudu in a 10-run over, but both he and Vinay Kumar were then hapless onlookers as Kieron Pollard freed those rangy arms and justified Mumbai's spending on him at the auction earlier this year. Neither helped their cause by bowling full tosses or good-length deliveries to a man who clears the fence with ease even when he mishits the ball.

Afterwards, Zaheer Khan, who captained Mumbai after Sachin Tendulkar went off with a hand injury, was asked how a bowler could respond to the kind of assault that Pollard unleashed. "You need to bowl your yorkers," he said. "And you need to be very clear in your mind about what you want to do."

Chasing such a big total against such a well-balanced bowling attack was never going to be easy, but with Dravid holding up one end, Bangalore made a game of it till almost halfway. Pietersen was again outfoxed by Harbhajan Singh, but it was the dismissal of Robin Uthappa, caught in the deep off a slower ball from Pollard, that was really decisive.

Bangalore also lost because their Indian players faded as the season went on. Praveen Kumar and Vinay, who started the season strongly, didn't distinguish themselves in the later games, while Manish Pandey wilted after a promising first stint at the top of the order. Uthappa's consistency and big hitting was a huge bonus, as Kumble was to acknowledge later, but the others didn't chip in enough when it mattered.

They now have a third place play-off and the possible consolation of a Champions League berth to contemplate. For a sweat-soaked Kumble, it was no consolation at all. "Every defeat hurts," he said. "We are professionals. Maybe some of the other players have other things to look forward to. But I no longer play international cricket. This is all I have. I still haven't got over losing in the final last year. This one will also take some time."

His team-mate of 18 years now faces an anxious wait to know if he'll be fit for the final. For much of the tournament, Sachin Tendulkar's runs piloted Mumbai's challenge. Today, with next to no contribution from him, the others proved that they're far from being a one-man show. Tiwary and Rayudu have both made huge strides during the course of this competition, and the fact that they didn't crumble under the pressure of a knockout situation augurs well for the future.

Both Sri Lankan pace bowlers did exceptionally well, but it was Pollard with his languid movements and awesome power that was the star of the show. They'll take some stopping in the final, no matter which team they face.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Raj on April 24, 2010, 12:37 GMT

    who do think will win IPL3 a quick poll

  • Sachin on April 23, 2010, 4:39 GMT

    Rayadu's counter-attacking attitude, Tiwary's consistent & smart cricket, Pollard's final bursts with Sachin's purple patch has come good this season to aid the more consistent trio of Zak, Slinger Malinga & Bhajji... Tendulkar really wants this trophy and the ODI World-cup!!! He will get both!!

  • Dummy4 on April 22, 2010, 23:53 GMT

    Pollard, was the best player in the match, hands down. His blitz of 33 off 13, his 3 wickets and that diving run out shows why he is worth every cent. Polly, Wish u all the best for the finals. Keep up the good work. i don't care what any one else has to say, today was the Kieron Pollard show, and we were entertained.

  • Asker on April 22, 2010, 16:03 GMT

    Hey Guys, a well deserved win for MI. Ofcourse a very special thanks to the one and only SRT, who has been a thorn in the eyes and a clot in the brain of every opposition he has played against, who cannot identify any mistakes or plan a strategy to outdo him-thats what we call greatness.And the same can be said about the great Anil Kumble,even though he has got little lesser limelight, and in my opinion these are the two pillars on whom the bridge of indian cricket rests on and others are support acts but equally important. Now regarding MI's wins, apart from SRT who has been the fulcrum, others around him have done an awesome job, Zaheer,Harbhajan,Malinga,Pollord as expected have done commendably, but lesser known guys like Shikar, Rayudu, Sateesh, Tiwari, Murtaza have performed exceptionally well and credit should be given to them as well. I have observed Zak's captaincy skills whenever he got opportunity he has done a great job, hope indian selectors give a thought tothis aspect.

  • Harsh on April 22, 2010, 14:05 GMT

    As long as there will be players like Pollard, WI cricket will never die. Shame on WI boards for not providing proper feedback to players for last 2-3 years. I hope things have changed now. I hope they keep cheap ticket pricing in World Cup, thats the only way crowd will come. Whats astonishing is that he is just 22 even younger than me, what on earth !! Lol 0 % extra body fat on his body. May be Gayle needed some one like Polly to lift WI cricket. To be honest, he is confident, but he has never been cocky so far, I hope he doesn't get carried away. For shorter format when you have player like this who can do Fielding batting and bowling, you can sneak in many specialist. I hope we see more players like Polly from WI, may be IPL can be inspiration. Because world expect powerful athletes from WI. We probably won't see Walsh Ambrose Bishop, but more than 3 Sobers like players will do for me. I want CSK to be in final just to see how Dhoni plays Malinga hehehe interesting contest will be

  • shrijit on April 22, 2010, 13:15 GMT

    Think Bangalore did the wrong thing by leaving White out of the playing XI.He is a much better batsman than KP or Taylor and packs the same kind of punch that Pollard has. Moreover cannot figure out them playing Kallis who has been a big disaapointment with the bat and ball.

  • Ajit on April 22, 2010, 13:15 GMT

    Excellent win.. I think Mumbai Indian deserve to win for multiple reasons but primarily because they have played hard, good cricket and the Indian players have really pulled their weight. I hope Chennai gets through to the final (as they are my second favourite team)

  • Kenneth on April 22, 2010, 13:12 GMT

    'D Kieron Pollard Show' well done polly u continue to show your worth as a T20 Guru, your alround performance for MI shows the level of skill u posses in all aspects of the game. Congrats to the team it was indeed a wonderful team effort.

  • Philip on April 22, 2010, 12:02 GMT

    Well done Mumbai. Pollard taking the honours and well deserved too. He has been gracious in his appreciation in the fact that the management had shown faith in him - and he has be delivering when it counted. The team is well balanced and are rallying round each one. Smart decision to play Zaheer, Fernando and Malinga. They played their part. Bhaji with a key wicket too. Kallis did not know what hit him. KP not sure what he was supposed to be doing. Team Spirit that has been lacking in some of the other teams. Tendulkar has laid a foundation for the close knit team. He has to take most of the credit for the performance of his team. Never do you see him annoyed at a bowler for being irregular but more of an encouragement. Chennai is another well balanced team who have themselves to blame for their performance. It will be a good final to see Mumbai and Chennai (should they get through). Dhoni Vs Satchin - wow.

  • Dummy4 on April 22, 2010, 11:35 GMT

    I think the success for MI this season is the way their Indians rise up to the occasion.In first season it was totally a Sanath Jayasuriya show without any support from Indians.But in IPL3.0,likes of Rayudu,Tiwary really bolstered the middle order.I think for the final Duminy have to sit out while adding Bravo...

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