Pollard rescue act propels Indians to top of the IPL ladder as Kohli's comeback half-century counts for nought in RCB defeat
The result: Royal Challengers Bangalore 5-142 (Kohli 62, McClenaghan 2-20) lost to Mumbai Indians 6-145 (Pollard 70, Badree 4-9) by four wickets.
The match in a tweet: Kohli returns to Caribbean carnage as Kieron Pollard hits his straps to rescue Mumbai after a Samuel Badree spin masterclass.
Kohli watch: Love him or hate him, cricket would not be the same without Virat Kohli, who rediscovered the batting touch that deserted him against Australia on a tricky Bengaluru wicket. The Indian firebrand’s half-century was the backbone of the RCB innings as his teammates struggled to come to grips with the cracked surface. Kohli looked in a league of his own, taking 17 off the third over of the match, an effortless whip to leg from a regulation Tim Southee delivery proving he’d well and truly shaken off the shoulder injury that saw him miss the Border-Gavaskar Trophy-decider in Dharamsala last month. The right-hander is an absolute joy to watch in full flight and he treated RCB fans to a superb 62 off 47 balls, a standalone knock for the hosts but not enough to see them to victory.
Quick Single: Badree snares IPL hat-trick
The hat-trick: Defending a low total, Kohli relied on his frontline bowlers to do the bulk of the damage at the top, which is exactly what West Indian spinner Badree did. Badree first removed Parthiv Patel thanks to a sharp catch by countryman Chris Gayle, before the Indians sent out pinch-hitter Mitchell McClenaghan who skied a ball straight down mid-wicket’s throat. The hat-trick ball saw severely out-of-form Mumbai skipper Rohit Sharma stride to the crease, and he fared no better, a superb wrong-un slipping through the gate to deliver the death rattle. Badree's masterclass (the 15th IPL hat-trick) saw Mumbai slump to 4-7 before the middle order regrouped.
The saviour: Chasing 143 for victory, Mumbai’s hopes dwindled as Badree took control, claiming 4-9 in a devastating display of wrist spin. Slumping to 4-7 and adding only 26 runs before the next wicket fell, all hope fell on Kieron Pollard and the Pandya brothers for Mumbai. Pollard had been underwhelming with the bat in his previous three matches, contributing just 55 runs and leaving the heavy lifting to the others, but he shone as the Indians stole an unlikely victory. He blasted three boundaries and five sixes in his bombardment on his way to a match-winning 70 from 47 balls. In conjunction with Krunal Pandya (37no), the two combined for a 93-run stand that ultimately handed Mumbai a place at the top of the IPL table.
Quick Single: Terrific Tye lifts Lions to first win
Gayle Force: Those at Bengaluru’s M.Chinnaswamy Stadium hoping to witness a slice of history had their hopes raised when fit-again RCB captain Kohli announced Chris Gayle, sitting 25 runs short of becoming the first batsman to 10,000 T20 runs, would return to the side. The pair opened the batting but it was the Indian who dominated the scoring early on, with Gayle managing just three of the first 26 runs scored. The destructive Jamaican looked to have finally got going on with a straight six off Harbhajan Singh but he departed soon after for 22, edging behind off Hardik Pandya. It means he now needs three more runs to reach the five-figure landmark.
The catch: A contender for catch of the tournament? With AB de Villiers on 19 and looking to up the tempo at the back-end of the faltering RCB innings, Rohit Sharma took flight to reel in an absolute stunner. The South African attempted a trademark inside-out cover-drive over the top of the in-field, only for Rohit to pouch the mishit in one hand while diving full-stretch. And perhaps no-one was happier that the Mumbai skipper had clung on to the chance than Jos Buttler, having given de Villiers a life when he put down a high ball with the Proteas star on seven.
The bowler’s game: Badree’s spell is top of the list when it comes to praising the bowlers but it had competition in Mumbai’s finishers. Between McClenaghan, Jasprit Bumrah and Krunal Pandya, not one boundary was allowed in the final five overs of the Royal Challengers Bangalore innings, the trio up just 32 runs in the process. The restrictive bowlers did the job for Rohit's side, allowing consolidation despite faltering in the chase, reeling in RCB’s score with seven balls remaining. This is the first time in the IPL where a team has lost four wickets for less than 10 runs and still walked away with victory.
The Aussie Pack: The IPL’s 12th match was the first to feature no Australians in either line-up, with stand-in RCB skipper Shane Watson making way for Chris Gayle’s return. He and Travis Head were kept on the sidelines for the hosts, while Mumbai are yet to unveil off-season signing Mitchell Johnson.
The fallout: Mumbai Indians hit the top of the table for the first time this tournament and will look to continue their brilliant run with a victory over the Gujarat Lions on Sunday night. The Royal Challengers Bangalore then meet the Steve Smith-led Supergiant immediately after on Monday morning with the match vital for both sides to move up the table and vie for a playoffs spot.