| An elated Ambati Rayudu after Mumbai Indians’ victory, in Bangalore, on Monday. (PTI) |
Bangalore: Mumbai Indians rode on Ambati Rayudu and Kieron Pollard’s swashbucklings knocks and their unbroken 122-run sixth-wicket partnership to stage a dramatic fightback and beat the Royal Challengers Bangalore by five wickets in their Indian Premier League match.
Rayudu smashed an unbeaten 81 off 54 balls while Pollard remained not out on 52 off 31 as the Mumbai Indians chased down the target of 172, with two balls to spare, after staring down the barrel at 51 for five in the ninth over.
Pollard and Rayudu hit nine runs in the penultimate over off Zaheer Khan, leaving the Mumbai Indians to score 14 in last over.
Pollard smashed Gayle for a six and two fours off the final over to seal the match for the Mumbai team and boost their chances for qualifying for the playoffs. The nightmare of not getting good starts haunted Mumbai Indians yet again when they lost three early wickets by the fourth over.
They started poorly losing Sachin Tendulkar for a first- ball duck. Zaheer, who seems to be peaking at the right time for the Royal Challengers, had the batsman caught by Virat Kohli at short cover point.
The visitors then lost Herchelle Gibbs (2) after KP Appanna fired in a superb throw at the bowler’s end where Saurabh Tiwary did the rest.
Mumbai Indians were in trouble with the scorecard reading seven for two at the end of the second over.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik showed early signs of aggression as he carted Zaheer over backward square leg for a boundary and then worked him between the mid-wicket and mid-on for another four.
But Rohit Sharma’s dismissal only made things worse for the Mumbai Indians. After the end of seventh over, Mumbai needed 132 runs off 78 balls at 10.15 per over.
Pollard and Rayudu targeted left-arm spinner Appanna in the eleventh over, by clobbering him for 19 runs.
Pollard thrashed Appanna for two consecutive sixes, taking the Mumbai Indians to 75 for five at the end of the over.
Earlier, the start of match was delayed by 50 minutes due to rain and later, at about 8pm, play was stopped again for nearly seven minutes as one of the floodlights stopped working.
After play resumed, Rayudu upped the ante by clobbering a six and a four off Gayle. Rayudu got to his fifty with a cracking straight drive, keeping the Mumbai Indians in the hunt, before Pollard joined him in the onslaught.
Rayudu and Pollard provided the impetus in the 17th over, first smacking Zaheer for a six and then driving one back past the bowler for a four.