IPL 9: Mumbai Indians clinch win as RCB's guns fail

Rahul's unbeaten 68 goes in vain as Pollard, Buttler lift Mumbai to victory.

Bengaluru: Mumbai Indians produced a solid all-round display to dent Royal Challengers Bangalore's chances of making it into the top-four with a resounding six-wicket win in the IPL-9 tie at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Wednesday.

Chasing 151, Ambati Rayudu's 47-ball-44 set the base while Kieron Pollard (35 n.o, 19b, 3x4, 2x6) and Jos Buttler (29 n.o, 11b, 1x4, 3x6) finished in style, with eight balls remaining, with a 21-ball 55 fifth-wicket partnership.

RCB started strong with Sreenath Arvind removing opener Parthiv Patel, edged to Shane Watson at slip, early on before Rohit Sharma (25, 24b) and Rayudu stitched a 51-ball-58-run partnership which ended when the former was caught at deep by AB de Villiers.

Stuart Binny and de Villiers took spectacular catches to remove Nitesh Rana and Rayudu but Pollard and Buttler, who came in at 98/4, smashed 18 off Watson's 17th over and 16 off Chris Jordan's next to their team to victory.

Earlier, KL Rahul continued to add to his ever rising reputation with yet another mature performance to lift RCB from a precarious spot to a respectable 151/4.

Rahul struck an unbeaten 53-ball-68, which consisted of three fours and four sixes, to keep his side's innings together after the usual suspects failed to fire against a Mumbai bowling attack which hardly afforded any room for the batsmen to swing.

Choosing to field, Tim Southee opened with four dot balls before Virat Kohli lofted the next one over the ropes. The RCB captain then made his way back to pavilion after edging Mitchell McClenaghan to Harbhajan Singh at third slip.
Chris Gayle, who came in place of Travis Head, then threw away his wicket by skying Southee's delivery down the offside, which was collected gratefully by Sharma, to put his side in a pickle with the scoreboard reading 17/2 in 3.2 overs. They finished the powerplay scoring just 25 runs.

With RCB now in untested waters, AB de Villiers and Rahul bid their time before the latter managed to fire a six and a four from Jasprit Bumrah's over to settle the nerves before the former lofted Harbhajan, who dropped a difficult catch in the next ball, for a six.

The drop didn't prove too costly as the South African departed soon, conceding a top edge to Krunal Pandya which was caught at deep midwicket by Rayudu.
Watson (15) also departed soon as a direct hit from Rohit Sharma's throw from mid off reduced RCB to 98/4 in 15.3 overs.

Rahul and Sachin Baby then stitched up a 27-balls 53-run partnership for the fifth wicket, with the bulk of the runs coming from the 18th over from Kieron Pollard. Rahul fired the burly West Indian's first ball for a six before Baby lofted back to back deliveries to the stands and ending the over, which provided 23 runs, with pull to the boundary.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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