Mumbai rounded off their IPL campaign with a comfortable win over the Bangalore Royal Challengers in a match reduced to 18 overs a side by rain. Sanath Jayasuriya and Sachin Tendulkar weren't troubled by the damp conditions and added 96 in 69 balls after Dilhara Fernando restricted Bangalore to 122 with controlled spells of bowling that fetched him four wickets.
While Mumbai's three seamers - Shaun Pollock, Ashish Nehra and Fernando - troubled the Bangalore batsmen with varying line and length, Bangalore's bowlers, except Dale Steyn, caused no discomfort to Mumbai's in-form openers. Rahul Dravid chose to open with Anil Kumble, like he did in the previous game, and was made to pay as Jayasuriya lofted the bowler for a four over his head off the second ball.
In any opening partnership that features Jayasuriya, the other batsman will have to play second fiddle and Tendulkar did just that as Jayasuriya went on the attack. However both the batsmen were shaken by Steyn's pace and ability to seam the ball both ways. In his first over - that went for one run - Steyn cut one in to Jayasuriya, then had him miss a pull with a ball that stayed low and followed it with an away delivery that Jayasuriya nearly edged to the keeper. But the inability of the other bowlers to get the right length undid Steyn's efforts.
The short ball was used effectively by Mumbai's bowlers to keep the runs in check but similar deliveries by Bangalore's bowlers went for fours and sixes off Jayasuriya's bat. R Vinay Kumar was hit for successive sixes and fours to midwicket and fine leg in an over that cost 16 runs. In contrast, for Mumbai, Pollock and Nehra set up Shreevats Goswami for Fernando's taking with back-of-length deliveries that jumped up at him. And though Mark Boucher countered bouncers from the two with ease, he appeared off-guard for one by Fernando and ended up lobbing it to Robin Uthappa at mid-on.
In Mumbai's last match, Fernando had a nightmare final over where he conceded 15 runs to hand the Rajasthan Royals their 11th win of the tournament. But he had no hangover of that game today as he took three wickets for three runs in his first two overs. Later, when Tendulkar kept faith in him and gave him the final over, Fernando responded by conceding only seven and picking up a fourth wicket.
Bangalore were hindered not only by the slow outfield, that converted certain boundaries in to threes and twos, but also by Mumbai's fielders, who contained runs by running hard and diving across the ground. The last three overs - which went for 30 runs - allowed Bangalore to go past 100 but it was never going to be enough to stop Jayasuriya and Tendulkar from sealing an easy win.
Nishi Narayanan is a staff writer at Cricinfo