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MI vs RCB, IPL 2021 Talking Points: AB de Villiers shines yet again as RCB clinch thriller

Brief Scores: Mumbai Indians 159/9 in 20 overs (Chris Lynn 49, Suryakumar Yadav 31; Harshal Patel 5-27) lost to Royal Challengers Bangalore 160/8 in 20 overs (AB de Villiers 48, Glenn Maxwell 39; Jasprit Bumrah 2-26) by 2 wickets

Harshal Patel was the star of the show as he claimed his first ever five wicket haul in T20s – also the first ever bowler to pick five scalps against Mumbai Indians – as Royal Challengers Bangalore kept their nerves to chase down a tricky 160 on the last ball. On a dry and slow wicket, Harshal varied his pace well in the death overs as he restricted MI to only 159, before AB de Villiers ensured that the match was won after RCB were in a precarious situation. 

There were plenty of interesting tidbits from the game – Virat Kohli winning a rare toss, Mumbai Indians losing their opening game of the IPL for the ninth time in a row and RCB finally getting the first win in a tournament opener after three failed attempts.

Here are the talking points from the match: 

AB de Villiers show.. Again 

There is no denying that Royal Challengers Bangalore have relied tremendously on Virat Kohli and more so AB de Villiers in the last few seasons. The South African was the saviour yet again after his side had slipped to a tough position despite a 52 run partnership between skipper Kohli (who made 33 off 29) and Glenn Maxwell (39 off 28 balls). On a wicket that was slowing down as the innings progressed, RCB needed 54 off the last 30 deliveries, when de Villiers walked in at five and wreaked havoc. He started off proceedings with a six and a four off Rahul Chahar and got 25 runs off nine deliveries that were bowled by Trent Boult and Jasprit Bumrah. Though he was run out in the last over, he had done more than enough in his 27 ball stay that fetched 48 runs. 

What about the slow over rate, though? 

Ahead of the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League, the Board had sent down strict guidelines about the slow over rate and the fines that would follow if a team did not complete their quota of 20 overs by 90 minutes. However, in the first game of the season itself, all warning went out of the window as RCB took a total of 111 minutes to complete their 20 overs with the ball – 21 more minutes than the stipulated time. The skipper will now be fined INR 12 lakhs – which is “peanuts” for the players, as Sunil Gavaskar had recently stated on air during commentary during the T20Is against India and England. Should the Board ponder over banning skippers for a game for repeated offences? 

Harshal Patel was the star at the death 

In a game that had death overs specialist Jasprit Bumrah, it was Harshal Patel who stole the show in the last few overs of the Mumbai innings. Though he started the game for RCB with a front foot no ball and a six, he raised his game in the death as he got the wicket of Hardik Pandya in the 16th over with a brilliant slower ball that went past his bat and caught him plumb in front. In the third over, he got Ishan Kishan LBW with a yorker, just a ball after Mohammad Siraj had dropped an easy one. 

Harshal Patel was excellent in his last over as he got the ball to reverse and picked up Krunal Pandya and Kieron Pollard – the latter off a slower one. Marco Jense was his third victim of the over (fifth wicket overall) as he conceded only 1 run off his final over. He had conceded 15 off his first over but came back strongly and gave away only 13 off his last three overs. 

What has happened to Chahal? 

The spinner had been dropped from the last two T20Is against England last month due to indifferent form, which has continued into the IPL as well. Yuzvendra Chahal – playing his 100th IPL game – has been a genuine match winner for RCB over the seasons, especially on the flat wickets that are found at Chinnaswamy. However, he conceded as many as 41 runs in his 4 overs – the second most expensive bowler of the night – which will send Kohli into a worry. 

The Indian skipper also did not utilize Washington Sundar in the powerplay overs with only 6 overs of spin being bowled by RCB – 1 each by Sundar and Shahbaz Ahmed. They will have to sort out their spin muddle, with only Adam Zampa the reliable option on the bench. 

However, playing Zampa means that RCB have to tinker with their balance – either bench Daniel Christain (reducing the batting resources) or Kyle Jamieson, who was impressive in his IPL debut. 

Will Hardik Pandya now bowl? 

During the toss, Mumbai skipper Rohit Sharma stated that his team would be going in with five bowling options – which meant that both Hardik Pandya and Keiron Pollard would not bowl during the game. While Pandya did not bowl last year as well due to his back surgery, Pollard had sent down crucial overs and picked up important wickets, and his absence with the ball will be a huge loss for Mumbai Indians. The side does not have the best spin bowling attack – Rahul Chahar and Krunal Pandya combined to give 68 runs against RCB – and the lack of bowling options will be a huge worry. They might, then, have to replace Marco Jensen with another all rounder, just for the balance of the squad. 

Also Read: SA vs PAK, 1st T20I: Depleted Proteas underdogs against strong Pakistan

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