‘Mumbai Indians know how to win games,’ said the commentators, but, unfortunately, they forgot that this theory does not apply to the first match of the season. It was yet another uncharacteristically timid showing in match one from MI, who succumbed to defeat to an RCB unit that was also rusty.
Match report in a Tweet
Another Royal Challengers Bangalore game, another AB de Villiers show. Mumbai started off slowly, picked up the pace and then slowed down again, and their stutter enabled RCB to chase down a par-total. Maxwell set-up up the chase, which was nonchalantly finished by Mr.360.
Where Mumbai Indians lost the game
Royal Challengers Bangalore batted exceptionally well on a tough wicket, yes, but Mumbai dropped the ball with the bat. At 94/1 in the 11th over with a well-set SKY and Lynn at the crease, the Blues should, at the very minimum, have posted 180, given the firepower they had and the inexperience that dripped out of RCB’s bowling. You won’t win games of cricket posting 31/6 in your last 5 overs.
Soooooooo. The captains don’t care about the strict over-rate punishments, do they?
The BCCI’s ruling prior to the IPL created quite a furore. The board, in an attempt to curb games from protracting, announced hefty-fines for any skipper/side that did not complete 20 overs within the stipulated 90 minutes and the change was considered ‘extremely harsh’ by many (heck, we even wrote a Satire on it). But clearly the memo did not reach Virat Kohli today. RCB took a ridiculous 111 minutes - 21 more than the allotted time - to complete their overs in an innings which had no stoppages. I mean, yes, chances are that Kohli will be fined 12 lakh today, but doesn’t this just reinforce the fact that monetary fines are pointless? Perhaps it’s time to start banning captains for the first offence. Or maybe start handing out run-penalties. Because, quite honestly, what’s going on currently is ridiculous.
RCB conceded just 159, but make no mistake, the dwindling form of their spinners is a huge concern
It was quite an effort from the RCB bowlers to restrict Mumbai to just 159, particularly after threatening to leak 200 at one stage. But while their pacers showed plenty of heart, the dwindling form of their spinners is a genuine concern. For quite some time now the Chahal of RCB and the Chahal of India have been two different bowlers, but today, rather worryingly for the Reds, the leggie brought out his Indian avatar. Why Chahal’s indifferent form is a major concern for RCB is because, as we witnessed today, neither Sundar nor Shahbaz Ahmed are guaranteed to give the side four overs. The Sundar of 2020 might have been, but it is worth remembering that the off-spinner, too, is going through a rough patch: his last 6 overs have yielded 72 and he has just bowled one-over spells in each of his last 2 T20s. There’ll be the returning Adam Zampa who could steady the ship, of course, but fitting him into the side would be a problem, for that would require one of Jamieson or Christian to sit out. Well, RCB fans, pray that Chahal rediscovers his form or you’re doomed. Simple as that.
Ummmm… are we sure that Hardik Pandya is fit enough to bowl?
Hardik Pandya exiting a T20 game without delivering a single ball is not news. But there was one significant moment in the game - that largely went unnoticed - which incited suspicion that the younger Pandya might not be fully fit. After Kohli slapped a Rahul Chahar ball to the third man, Pandya chased the delivery and…...under-armed the ball back to skipper Rohit, who was stationed only a few yards in front. Of course, we are fully speculating, but could the under-arm throw imply that Pandya is nursing a shoulder problem? There was no reason for Mumbai to not bowl him on this sluggish wicket, particularly after seeing the damage Harshal Patel was able to inflict with his cutters. As we witnessed in the England T20Is, there are few in the world who are world-class exponents of the cutter like Pandya is, so unless he was nursing an injury, it was bizarre on MI’s part to not bowl the all-rounder.
Marco Jansen is going to find it difficult to excel this season
Let’s be honest. As soon as Jansen delivered his first ball - a gentle 120-something gift on the pads - we all uttered the same words: “THIS is the guy Mumbai scouted for three years???”. Make no mistake, the kid is prodigiously talented and he proved his mettle by holding his nerve in his second spell. But you have to question the merit and credibility of Mumbai throwing the kid into the deep end in the very first game of the season. He looked like a giant but that was it, really. Jansen’s deliveries, for the most part, lacked bite, direction, mystery and the young Protea looked innocuous for large parts of his spell. He did show glimpses of his skill but RCB, in truth, let the youngster get away easily. Despite his two-wicket showing today, it is hard to see the 20-year-old playing a significant role for the defending champions this season, for he feels too raw.
The MVP - Harshal Patel
Harshal Patel had absolutely no right to finish with figures of 5/27 after conceding 15 off his first over. You simply cannot execute cutters, slower-balls, dipping yorkers to perfection and deliver a one-run, four-wicket 20th over against the greatest T20 side in history. Jeeeez, this power performance will take *some* beating. To top it all, he even finished the innings, a match-winner in the truest sense. Clutch-god Harshal Patel.
Match Frenzy O Meter - Excellent
The sluggishness of the pitch initially made you go ‘uh oh’, but the game surprisingly shaped up to be an extremely entertaining one. One of those low-scoring games that leaves you satisfied at the end. Oh wait, it got even better at the end, where at one point, I was wondering if I have to change it all, all over again, damn IPL.