Recent Match Report – RCB vs Mumbai 10th Match 2020/21

Royal Challengers Bangalore 201 for 3 (de Villiers 55*, Padikkal 54, Boult 2-34) tied with Mumbai Indians 201 for 5 (Kishan 99, Pollard 60*, Udana 2-45)
Super over Royal Challengers Bangalore 11 for 0 beat Mumbai Indians 7 for 1

A day after IPL 2020 delivered an incredible thriller with the highest ever successful chase, the Mumbai Indians and the Royal Challengers Bangalore went one better, with the highest ever tied score in an IPL game. Mumbai were behind all through their chase of 202, needing 90 off the last five overs. They were still behind when Kieron Pollard reiterated his T20 G.O.A.T. status by smacking around Adam Zampa and Yuzvendra Chahal for an imagination-defying 49 runs in two overs during his unbeaten 60 off 24 balls. They were still behind when Ishan Kishan – back in the XI due to a Saurabh Tiwary niggle – was out for 99 to make it five needed off the last ball. Pollard hit a four, of course he did, to bring the match to a Super Over.

As comebacks go, there was still one left in the match though, and Navdeep Saini delivered a standout Super Over to keep Pollard, Hardik Pandya and Rohit Sharma to just 7 for 1. Jasprit Bumrah, who had gone for 42 runs in four wicketless overs during regular play, then turned up with some excellent Super Over bowling of his own, though his gamble to bounce AB de Villiers with fine leg up went for a top-edged four. With scores level, Virat Kohli used his wrists to put the final ball away and ensure Mumbai’s story of comebacks ended on the last ball of the Super Over.

Ten days into the IPL, the Royal Challengers have two wins in three games – a start they haven’t been used to of late.

Before Mumbai mounted their incredible fight back, the Royal Challengers seemed to be coasting to victory, powered to 201 for 3 on the back of half-centuries from openers Aaron Finch (52 off 35) and Devdutt Padikkal (54 off 40), both of which were overshadowed by a barnstorming de Villiers 55 not out off 24. For almost three quarters of the chase after that, a revamped bowling attack stuck to its plans as Mumbai struggled.

Pollard’s arrival and Kishan’s fine knock unravelled those plans, but not to the finish.

Finch starts, Padikkal steers, de Villiers finishes

Finch has not been in the best form so far in the IPL, but he didn’t let that change his game-plan, going hard at the top. He survived a couple of chancy hits, but then began connecting well, giving the Royal Challengers the kind of start from which they could launch. Kohli, however, looked off-colour and struggled to even get the singles. Padikkal, the other opener, played second fiddle to Finch in the opening stand, but opened out more once Finch and Kohli fell. What really boosted the Royal Challengers though, was de Villiers’ arrival. Without even looking like he was taking extravagant chances, de Villiers had purred to 20 off 12, when Bumrah came on for his final spell. He was promptly dispatched for 18 runs in one over and 17 in the next, with de Villiers scoring 27 of those. At the other end, Shivam Dube blasted three sixes and a four in his ten-ball stay as the Royal Challengers surged past 200.

The Royal Challengers had brought in Isuru Udana and Adam Zampa for this game to beef up their bowling attack, with Dale Steyn and Umesh Yadav dropped. They then gave Washington Sundar three overs in the powerplay, a move that paid spectacular dividends. Not only did Sundar get Rohit Sharma in the game’s second over, he ended his first spell giving up a mere seven runs in three overs. None of Mumbai’s vaunted top order could attack him, denied room to free their arms or width to play the ball square on either side. Sundar – no stranger to bowling in the powerplay – was not the only one to stick to his plans. The long square boundaries allowed the Royal Challengers to bowl lines that asked the Mumbai batsmen to clear those, with fielders positioned in the deep. Sharma, Quinton de Kock and Hardik Pandya were all caught at deep midwicket off the spinners, as Mumbai sank deeper.

All the while,Kishan had been timing the ball well and kept ticking over. While he can hit the ball big, in Mumbai’s line-up it might have been expected of the others to do the big-hitting. But with the rest of the top order falling and the asking rate climbing, Kishan also began to go for the big shots. In Pollard, he had a partner at the other end who could hit them like few can. Pollard faced only 10 balls in the first 4.4 overs that the two were together, but Kishan took the other 18 for 31 runs.

When Pollard faced up to Zampa at the start of the 17th over, Mumbai needed an unrealistic 80 runs in 24 balls. But Pollard then ripped apart Zampa and Chahal – both in their final overs – for a 27-run over followed by a 22-run over, and suddenly the impossible seemed merely the improbable. Along the way they were helped by three drops – two off Pollard and one off Kishan – of which one was straightforward.

In the circumstances, Saini’s final over – the 19th of the innings – was an excellent effort with just 12 runs conceded, giving Udana 19 to defend. Kishan was on strike for four of the six balls, but sent two of them over the boundary, the first via a tough spilled chance and the second sailing over and taking him to 99. Mumbai could have had victory next ball, but Kishan’s slog-sweep was finally held in the deep, just a yard inside the boundary. The final ball was short and sat up, Pollard connected with a mighty swipe and got the power, but not the elevation as it bounced once before clearing the rope, to signal a tie.

The Super Over

Saini bowled a terrific over. He was going for the yorkers, and nailed a couple but the ones he didn’t ended up as low full tosses that weren’t easy to hit either. Hardik Pandya couldn’t time it, and even Pollard was beaten once before whipping another low full toss to deep midwicket. Only three balls were scored off from the bat, with one bye on the final ball, and Bumrah faced up to de Villiers once again to defend a low total. He almost did it, and de Villiers was even given out caught behind off a third-ball bouncer that was overturned on review, but with fine leg up, Bumrah’s gamble of bluffing de Villiers with another short one didn’t work. De Villiers wasn’t fully in control of his pull shot but he got enough on it to roll into the boundary. Bumrah went back to fuller lengths – a perfect yorker and a low full toss – for the last two balls, but with just two to get, he couldn’t stop de Villiers and Kohli.

Saurabh Somani is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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