Prior to the commencement of the UAE phase of the Indian T20 League 2021, both Bangalore and Mumbai looked certain to qualify for the playoffs. Virat Kohli’s Bangalore had won 5 of their 7 first phase matches, while Rohit Sharma’s Mumbai won 4 of their 7 first phase matches. Quite understandably, they both were placed inside the top four.
However, be it for the UAE conditions not playing to their suitability, or the sudden lack of form of their better players, both Bangalore and Mumbai had a tough start in the second phase. They met at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium after losing their first two matches of this round.
With neither of the sides being a part of the top four before the match, a lot was a stake on this particular contest, as in a highly competitive tournament like this, losing three games on the bounce can deplete a team’s chances of progressing to the next round significantly. Under such tough conditions, it is Virat Kohli’s men who have come up trumps, beating Mumbai by a big margin of 54 runs.
Padikkal departs early, but captain Kohli leads the charge
From the team’s perspective, Bangalore’s batting department failed to perform in the previous two matches. But Devdutt Padikkal was a pleasant exception in their other underperforming team. He, however, had a poor day at the office today.
In the second over of the match, he was sent back to the pavilion by Jasprit Bumrah, who has sprung to life in UAE after a tough first phase. The wicket ultimately did not hurt Bangalore a great deal, as captain Virat Kohli and wicket-keeper K Srikar Bharat batted really well.
But before we praise Kohli’s knock, it has to be noted that he was rather lucky to have stayed on the crease for long, as Mumbai had a golden opportunity to dismiss him in the very first over. Rahul Chahar misjudged the flight of the ball after Kohli skied the second ball of the match, which provided the Indian skipper with an early lifeline.
Chahar’s miss turned out to be very costly for Mumbai, as Kohli went on to score his second consecutive half-century. After failing to impress in his first two matches, K Srikar Bharat also played a good hand yesterday, as he scored 32 runs from 24 balls.
Glenn Maxwell joins the party
After rubbing salt on the wounds of Rahul Chahar and hitting two sixes off his bowling, Bharat was dismissed in the penultimate ball of the 9th over by the Mumbai spinner. But just like the scenario after Padikkal’s dismissal, Mumbai bowlers failed to unsettle the men in red by picking up quick wickets in succession.
Instead, after a stunning first phase, Maxwell finally found his mojo in UAE, as he scored only 56 runs from 37 balls today. Be it Krunal Pandya, Rahul Chahar or the New Zealand pacer Adam Milne – almost every Mumbai bowler was at the receiving end of Maxwell’s carnage yesterday.
Kohli departs, but Maxwell keeps the scoreboard ticking
From 82/2 at the end of 10 overs, Bangalore found themselves at 117/2 after 14 overs, thanks to Maxwell’s impressive stroke-play. In the 16th over of the match, Kohli could not get the desired connection while trying to lodge an Adam Milne slower ball into the stands, and substitute fielder Anukul Roy made no mistake in taking the catch.
AB de Villiers played a good cameo, as in the next two overs, Bangalore amassed 35 runs. Jasprit Bumrah managed to get both batters dismissed in the 19th over. The new batters could not hit the ground running against Trent Boult in the last over, which helped Mumbai restrict their opposition to a score of 165 runs.
Sharma-de Kock partnership gets Mumbai off to a good start
Unlike Mumbai, Bangalore did not get an early breakthrough. The formidable opening partnership of captain Rohit Sharma and wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock worked well for the men in blue once again.
Sharma went after Kyle Jamieson, while de Kock played a few stunning shots off the bowling of veteran Aussie all-rounder, Daniel Christian. At the end of the first 6 overs, Mumbai were 56/0, needing only 110 runs from 14 overs. At that stage, their victory looked certain.
Spin does the job for Bangalore
Bangalore got their first breakthrough right after the powerplay, when Yuzvendra Chahal showed Quinton de Kock the way back to the dressing room. In the 10th over of the match, Glenn Maxwell picked up the crucial wicket of Rohit Sharma. All of a sudden, from 56/0, Mumbai found themselves at 79/2 at the end of 10 overs.
The onus was then on Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav – two players who have looked completely out of touch here in UAE. Kishan did not last long, as Chahal got him out in the 11th over. A couple of overs later, Maxwell got his second wicket in the form of Krunal Pandya. Suryakumar Yadav joined the procession soon, as trying to reach for a wide slower ball by Mohammed Siraj, he ended up giving Yuzvendra Chahal a simple catch in the first ball of the 15th over.
Harshal Patel gets the first hat-trick of the season
At 98/5, Mumbai found themselves under more pressure than ever before in this match. They still had two big hitters on the pitch, in the form of Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard. After scoring only 6 runs off Daniel Christian’s 16th over, they were up against Harshal Patel, the leading wicket-taker of this edition.
The 17th over of the match was well and truly magical, as Patel became the first player to pick up a hat-trick in the 2021 edition of this tournament. Hardik Pandya was the first of the lot to perish, after which Kieron Pollard and Rahul Chahar followed suit.
By then, the match was pocketed by Kohli’s boys. Yuzvendra Chahal got Jasprit Bumrah clean bowled in the next over, while Patel picked up his fourth wicket in the first ball of the 19th over, which meant that from 56/0, Mumbai were bundled out for 111.
With this victory, Bangalore are now back in the top four. They need only two wins out of their remaining four matches to officially qualify for the playoffs. Mumbai are currently struggling in seventh place, and they will need to win all of their remaining four matches from here onwards.