IPL throws up unlikely heroes. Cricketers who move from periphery to centrestage.
It was seamer Harshal Patel’s turn to enter the limelight on Friday. He bowled cleverly, mixed his pace, varied his length, and sent down yorkers to scalp five for Royal Challengers Bangalore — the first fifer by any bowler against Mumbai Indians in the IPL.
Crucially, he removed the MI big-hitters with clever variations. Still holder MI’s 159 for nine needed some chasing on a sluggish pitch at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in the IPL lung opener in Chennai. And RCB nailed a last-ball victory by two wickets with Harshal there at the end to finish the contest with a single off the last ball.
The gifted AB de Villiers lifted RCB with some extraordinary strokeplay of extreme creativity.
de Villiers, with his 27-ball 48, was at his innovative best, launching into the bowling. Everything hinged on the South African now for RCB. His six off Boult was high on skill and timing. And then he unleashed a straight drive.
Seven were needed off the last over. Two were needed from two when de Villiers, going for a second run, was run-out.
Earlier, Washington Sundar, opening the innings, fell early. Virat Kohli stroked Boult through covers. And then swung the tall Marco Jansen, the new kid on the block.
Much hinged on Kohli and Glenn Maxwell. And Maxwell coming down the track struck Krunal Pandya for a huge six over wide long-off.
And a Maxwell switch hit off leg-spinner Rahul Chahal soared over the square-leg.
Bumrah broke the partnership, getting a good-length delivery to seam into Kohli.
Soon, the mercurial Maxwell was brilliantly held by Chris Lynn at short fine-leg off Jansen.
Earlier, MI was jolted early. Rohit surged for a single from the non-striker’s end but the swift Kohli terminated the Mumbai skipper’s innings.
The lanky Kiwi Kyle Jamieson was impressive with his control, extra bounce and the ability to pull back his pace.
Meanwhile, opener Chris Lynn (49), with his baseball-type swing, went for the bowling. The Aussie has terrific bat speed and clears the front leg to give himself the room to bludgeon the ball. There was no other substantial contribution for MI even if RCB dropped catches.
Washington, surprisingly overlooked in the first 10 overs, forced a miscue from Lynn (49), and held a rousing return catch.
Mumbai Indians: 159/9 in 20 overs (Chris Lynn 49, Suryakumar Yadav 31; Harshal Patel 5/27).
Royal Challengers Bangalore: 160/8 in 20 overs (AB de Villiers 48, Virat Kohli 33, Glenn Maxwell 39; Marco Jansen 2/28, Jasprit Bumrah 2/26).