IPL 2012: Rayudu, Pollard steal stunning win from RCB


May 14, 2012

Scorecard: Mumbai Indians 173 for 5 (Rayudu 81*, Pollard 52*) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 171 for 6 (Agarwal 64, Dilshan 47) by five wickets

Ambati Rayudu and Kieron Pollard put on 122 in 10.5 overs to turn around the match

May 14, 2012

Scorecard: Mumbai Indians 173 for 5 (Rayudu 81*, Pollard 52*) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 171 for 6 (Agarwal 64, Dilshan 47) by five wickets

Ambati Rayudu and Kieron Pollard put on 122 in 10.5 overs to turn around the match

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 Royal Challengers Bangalore by five wickets in their Indian Premier League match here today.

Rayudu smashed an unbeaten 81 off 54 balls while Pollard remained not out on 52 off 31 as 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.

A match that had all sorts of drama – delays due to rain, a floodlight failure, an unbelievable four free-hits in a row, a hit-wicket, and Munaf Patel being caned for 24 in the final over of the first innings by 21-year-old Mayank Agarwal – ended on a familiar note: Mumbai Indians' batsmen completing an improbable chase in the last over, and Bangalore Royal Challengers' fifth bowler costing them again (3.4-0-58-0).

Both teams' top orders have some of the leading lights of the world game, but most of them failed to make an impact, leaving it to batsmen lower down to make an impact. Agarwal slammed a 30-ball 61, his first IPL half-century, to rescue Royal Challengers, but Ambati Rayudu and Kieron Pollard blasted fifties of their own to take Mumbai Indians at least temporarily to second spot in the table.

The match highlighted some other customary themes: Indian bowlers unable to land their yorkers at the death, underlining concerns over the make-up of their World Twenty20 attack, and batsmen refusing to give up even when the asking-rate reached ridiculous levels.

When Pollard walked to the middle in the ninth over, Mumbai Indians had already lost half their side, the required-rate was soaring towards 12, and Royal Challengers were so assured of their position that Muttiah Muralitharan briefly operated with the unusual Twenty20 luxury of three close-in catchers.

Pollard showed the game was by no means over, by calmly lofting KP Appanna for consecutive sixes in the 11th over. With Appanna proving expensive, Royal Challengers turned to Chris Gayle's bowling but Rayudu muscled a four and six to keep Mumbai Indians believing.

Mumbai Indians' desperation to win was shown by the perfect full-length dive Pollard put in in the next over to beat the throw from the deep by inches. Murali was proving unhittable, and the batsmen watchfully played out his overs, and ransacked the rest.

With four overs to go, Mumbai Indians still needed to get 57. Royal Challengers' bowling has been dismal all season, and towards the end of the game they reverted to form. Zaheer Khan was hammered over midwicket for six, and then crashed past long-off. Vinay Kumar's next over was bookended by yorkers, but in between he offered three hit-me deliveries that Rayudu blasted for two sixes and a four. Zaheer was better in the penultimate over, though his one full toss was edged to third man for four.

With the main bowlers having finished their quota, Royal Challengers needed Gayle to win them the match with the ball this time, having 14 to defend. Gayle looked to fire everything flat and fast into the pads but Pollard effortlessly launched the second ball for six over midwicket, before a streaky four past third man and an almighty pull over midwicket took Mumbai Indians home with two deliveries to spare.

The hitting at the end overshadowed another top-order failure from Mumbai. Sachin Tendulkar's troubles continued, Herschelle Gibbs flopped and Rohit Sharma was caught and bowled for 5.

There had been a similar collapse from Royal Challengers early on: Gayle had a rare failure, Virat Kohli was run out after Gibbs proved he's an acrobatic fielder even at the age of 38, Saurabh Tiwary showed glimpses of form before treading onto the middle stump after tucking the ball to the leg side, and even AB de Villiers, for once, didn't fire.

Tillakaratne Dilshan hung around but wasn't at his most fluent, trying to hammer every delivery and succeeding rarely. It was left to Agarwal to lift Royal Challengers with an innings filled with eye-catching lofted off-side strokes. With two overs to go, at 134 for 6, they would have settled for 150, but Agarwal closed off the innings with a sequence of 4, 6, 1 (to retain strike), 6, 4, 4, 2, 6, 2.

It wasn't enough, though, as Mumbai Indians completed their fourth final-over chase of the season, snapping Royal Challengers three-game winning run.