The rescue act
When Mumbai, chasing 146, was reduced to 4 for 7 by the third over against Bangalore, the odds of them successfully completing the chase were bleak, but Kieron Pollard and Krunal Pandya pulled off a rescue act with a 93-run stand for the sixth wicket that saw their side eclipse the home team by four wickets at Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore on April 14. The match-winning stand ranked among the best partnerships in the second week of the Indian Twenty20 competition.
Pollard and Pandya's 2017 season, till that stage, hadn't come alive, with both struggling to find fluency, but against Bangalore the duo quelled any doubt of their ability. Samuel Badree had wrecked Mumbai's top order with a hat-trick, the first of the season, and barring a stoic effort from Mumbai's lower-middle order, Bangalore looked certain to claim the win. The effort came from Pollard and Pandya, who dropped anchor, and counter attacked a confident Bangalore bowling unit.
Pandya led the onslaught by clubbing Yuzvendra Chahal for six over long-on in the 10th over. Pollard joined in and smashed two fours and a six in the next three overs. The Pollard-Pandya combine reduced the deficit to 52 from 30 balls. Pollard hit three more sixes before he finally departed in the 18th over, for a 47-ball 70, which included five sixes and three fours. Krunal remained unbeaten on 37 off 30 balls and alongside his brother Hardik, comfortably ended the chase in the 19th over.
What they said
"I just thought these are situations when champions are made. I thought of that and struck to my strength, hit it down the ground. Krunal came in and showed his maturity too. It was a matter of watching what their bowlers. Personally I've never felt out of form. I've been hitting it well in the nets and these are the times you've to dig in."
Kieron Pollard on his match-winning partnership
Smith, McCullum lead Gujarat to first win of the season
Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum's 94-run opening stand led Gujarat to their first win of the season, beating Pune by seven wickets - at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Rajkot on April 14.
Gujarat required over nine from the onset in their 172-run chase to ensure their debutant seamer, Andrew Tye's, hat-trick effort didn't go to waste. Smith and McCullum put their experience to good use and led the onslaught from the start. The duo smashed three fours and two sixes in the first two overs. Shardul Thakur then dropped McCullum in the third over. He made them pay for the error by targeting Pune's bowling mainstay, Imran Tahir, clobbering him for four fours and two sixes in his first two overs. Smith had struck eight fours and one six in a 30-ball 47 before he fell in the ninth over. McCullum departed shortly after, with a 32-ball 49, but the early damage had already been done.
What they said
"I thought AJ bowled brilliantly. He is a very smart cricketer who varies his pace, especially in the death overs. Jason Roy missed out today, but then Baz and Smith did it for us. They have done it for CSK and they did it again today."
Suresh Raina on Gujarat's impressive display
AB de Villiers, Binny shine in a losing cause
Bangalore had mixed fortunes in the first two games of the season, without AB de Villiers, out due to injury, but against Punjab on April 10, the South Africa batsman made an impression by joining forces with Stuart Binny to add 80 runs for the fifth wicket in a losing cause at Holkar Cricket Stadium, Indore.
De Villiers played aggressor for much of the partnership and scored 59 off the 80 runs the duo added together, however Binny's contribution, though just 18, provided stability at the other end, while de Villiers looked to maximize the damage. The duo scored at 11.70 runs in the 6.5 overs they batted together. The partnership helped Bangalore, struggling at 3 for 22 at one stage, post 148, which was eventually eclipsed by Punjab.
What they said
"Didn't start well with the bat and I'm certainly to blame, getting out in the first over. A few more than 170-180 would have been nice. We didn't even execute nicely with the ball. There was a little bit more dew than I thought there would be and it was skidding along more in the second innings."
Shane Watson on the loss