MUMBAI – Rohit Sharma played a captain’s knock as Mumbai Indians chalked up their second win of the IPL campaign with a six-wicket victory at home over Royal Challengers Bangalore today.
The India star (62 from 44 balls) hit his second fifty of the season before England’s Jos Buttler fired a rapid 28 off 14 deliveries as the defending champions trumped Bangalore’s 170 for 7 with 12 balls in the bank following back-to-back defeats to Gujarat Lions and Sunrisers Hyderabad earlier in the week.
Slow left-armer Krunal Pandya (2-27) had dented Bangalore’s knock by dismissing Virat Kohli (33 from 30) and AB de Villiers (29 from 21) in the 11th over and bright, late cameos from youngsters Travis Head (37 from 24) and Sarfaraz Khan (28 from 18) proved in vain as the visitors slipped to a second defeat in a row.
Bangalore were shorn of Chris Gayle at Wankhede Stadium after the Jamaican flew home for the birth of his first child, with Kohli’s team making six changes to the XI that lost to a Quinton de Kock-inspired Delhi Daredevils last time out
Gayle’s replacement, Lokesh Rahul (23 from 14), provided ample entertainment, cracking two fours and two sixes from the four balls immediately before he clipped Mitchell McClenaghan – who had earlier struck him on the helmet – to slip.
Kohli and De Villiers came into the game on the back of successive fifties against Sunrisers Hyderabad and Delhi, and threatened to pass the milestone again as they shared a stand of 59 for the second wicket in 39 deliveries.
However, the pair fell to Pandya in the space of five balls – Kohli caught at long-off, De Villiers stumped – while Shane Watson made just five before edging Jasprit Bumrah (3-31) behind as Bangalore lost three wickets for eight runs.
Head, though, impressed on his IPL debut, the Australian left-hander – who creamed a century for Adelaide Strikers in this year’s Big Bash – adding 63 from 34 balls with the inventive Sarfaraz prior to being run out in the final over.
Head’s team-mate and countryman, Kane Richardson, then picked up a wicket with his first ball for Bangalore, the seamer forcing Parthiv Patel (5) to skew to De Villiers at point at the start of the second over.
Sharma and Rayudu (31 from 23), however, soon found their rhythm, combining to amass 79 runs from 55 deliveries before they fell to the spin of Iqbal Abdulla (3-40) in the 11th and 13th overs respectively.
Buttler became Abdulla’s third victim in the 16th after smiting the slow left-armer for successive sixes down the ground from the previous two balls, leaving Kieron Pollard (40 not out from 19) to pummel Mumbai over the line, the West Indian clubbing four boundaries and three maximums.