IPL: Challengers edge out Mumbai Indians

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IPL 2021 kicked off in a thrilling fashion as the Royal Challengers Bengaluru clashed with Mumbai Indians in a much-anticipated contest.

Both sides were packed with stars but it was the low-profile Harshal Patel of RCB who stole the honours with a splendid bowling display.

Harshal Patel’s five wickets for 27 runs was the first fiver against Mumbai Indians in IPL history.

He swung the match RCB’s way by getting rid of Mumbai’s dreaded pinch-hitters – Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard and Krunal Pandya in the last 3 overs. He also got the wickets of the dangerous Ishan Kishan and Marco Jansen.

More importantly, his bowling at the death restricted Mumbai to just 25 off the last four overs.

Harshal made full use of the dry pitch and was able to get the ball to grip the pitch and also generated reverse swing.

His last over particularly lethal. After getting Krunal and Pollard off consecutive balls, he bowled a spectacular yorker to rearrange Jansen’s stumps, completing five wickets in the process.

Washington Sundar chipped in with the vital wicket of Chris Lynn while Jamieson managed to induce a false stroke off Suryakumar Yadav.

Lynn top scored with 49 and looked in great nick.

The problem for MI was that the trio of Lynn, Kishan and Yadav failed to build on their good starts.

As a result, their final score of 159 was at least 15-20 run short of a competitive total.

AB makes the difference

With Devdutt Padikkal still unfit after his Covid illness, RCB promoted Sundar to open the innings with Kohli.

However, Sundar and Rajat Patidar – another IPL debutant – fell cheaply with the score at 46 for 2.

Glenn Maxwell came in at No. 4 and looked full of intent as he swept Rahul Chahar for a boundary off his fourth ball.

Maxwell scored a valuable 39 off 28 balls and by the time he fell, the score stood at 103 for 4. The Kohli-Maxwell partnership for the 3rd wicket put RCB in control of the match.

With Maxwell at No. 4, RCB had the luxury of having AB de Villiers come in at No. 5.

This strategy paid off handsomely as AB played an aggressive sheet anchor role and took RCB to the threshold of victory.

AB smashed 15 runs from Trent Boult’s 17th over that proved crucial.

Even Bumrah couldn’t stop AB de Villiers from plundering two boundaries in the 19th over that produced 12 runs.

AB stood firm even as Kyle Jamieson, Christian and Shabbaz Ahmed fell in rapid succession.

Finally, it was fitting that Man of the Match, Harshal Patel, after shining with the ball, took RCB home.

Royal Challengers Bangalore 160 for 8 (de Villiers 48, Maxwell 39, Bumrah 2-26, Jansen 2-28) beat Mumbai Indians 159 for 9 (Lynn 49, Yadav 31, Patel 5-27) by two wickets