Mumbai: Travis Head and Sarfaraz Khan provided Royal Challengers Bangalore the late flourish after a few hiccups in the middle to take them to 170/7 against Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede stadium here on Wednesday.
After Virat Kohli 33 (30b, 3x4) and AB de Villiers 29 (21b, 3x4, 1x6) had set the platform with 59-run stand in 39 balls, RCB lost three quick wickets in the middle. However, Head 37 (24b, 2x4, 2x6) and Sarfaraz 28 (18b, 2x4, 2x6) shared a fifth wicket partnership of 63 in 34 balls to take RCB to a fighting score. Jasprit Bumrah (3/31) sizzled with the ball by taking three wickets.
Though Mumbai Indians were in a desperate situation before the game losing three games out of four but it was RCB who showed some panic by making massive six changes.
They reinforced their bowling by bringing in all rounder Stuart Binny for Parvez Rasool, pacer Kane Richardson for David Wiese, local boy Iqbal Abdulla for Yuzvendra Chahal and Varun Aaron in place of Sreenath Aravind.
In the batting they were forced to bring in Travis Head for Chris Gayle who has returned home. Kedar Jadhav who kept wickets in the previous two games made way for KL Rahul.
The hosts in contrast made one change with fit again Kieron Pollard coming in for Martin Guptill. Skipper Rohit Sharma expected dew to play a role as has been the norm here and accordingly decided to bat first after having lost both games batting first here.
Kohli also wanted to chase as the wicket had done a bit early on. Tim Southee (0/25) and Mitchell McClenaghan (1/46) got the ball jag around a bit. Rahul was once struck on the helmet by McClenaghan as bowlers dominated initially. First boundary came in the third over when Southee strayed on the leg stump and Kohli flicked it clinically.
Rahul 23 (14b, 2x4, 2x6) then found cheeky ways to deal with short deliveries by hitting McClenagahan for two sixes and a boundary to get momentum in the innings but he edged the fourth one to lone slip in Harbhajan Singh. Kohli and De Villiers got to act together again reminiscing their unbeaten 215 stand here last season but they couldn’t dominate the Mumbai Indians bowlers who were on target.
The duo however set the stage for a flourish but left-arm spinner Krunal Pandya (2/27) bowled an exceptional 11th over of the innings to get rid of both the batsmen.