People pay good money to come and watch T20 games for exciting finishes. In that sense the crowd in Bangalore certainly got every rupee’s worth as the Royal Challengers scripted a heart-stopping two run win over the Mumbai Indians on Thursday night.
Never before had the Royal Challengers beaten the Indians in an IPL game at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, and a blinder of an innings from Dinesh Karthik looked set to see that statistic remain intact. However, Vinay Kumar’s heroic final over sent the home fans into raptures.
The Mumbai Indians will look back on this game as one they should have won. And if I had to pinpoint a key reason why they didn’t, it would have to be the bizarre late arrival at the crease of Kieron Pollard. Of course, this isn’t the first time it’s happened with Pollard as we witnessed the same in the Big Bash League. You just don’t send a player of his ability and quality at number six. Statistics have even shown that number six batters in T20 face an average of 10 to 12 balls. He’s got to bat at number four minimum or at number three or why not even as an opener on the odd occasion as you’ve got to be flexible with your batting order in T20 cricket. I think captains tend to think along the lines that if a player is a good finisher, it’s better to keep him for the latter stages. However, that thinking can often prove counter-productive as was the case with Pollard against Bangalore.
It was great to see the two legends in Ponting and Tendulkar walk out together, but they are two similar sort of players and one of them may have to take on a more dominant and aggressive role. That said, they did a fairly good job putting on 52 runs for the first wicket.
Chris Gayle was excellent as is fast becoming the norm with him in T20 and Mumbai would have clearly felt the absence of the injured Malinga while the Jamaican was running riot. They however seem to have unearthed an exciting find in young Jasprit Bumrah whose unconventional bowling action fetched him three wickets.
It’s the Chennai Super Kings up next for Ponting’s men, an excellent side whose record in the IPL speaks for itself. Mumbai will need to be at their best to deal with the threat posed by the spin duo of Ashwin and Jadeja. They will have to improve and tinker a bit with their batting order too as no team would want to lose their opening two games.