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Pollard tops Badree as Mumbai go top

Wisden India logo Wisden India 14-04-2017

Kieron Pollard and Krunal Pandya put together a match-winning 93-run stand to spoil Samuel Badree’s brilliant hat-trick and give Mumbai Indians a four-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore in their Indian Premier League 2017 game at M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Friday (April 14). Mitchell McClenaghan (2 for 20), Krunal (1 for 21) and Hardik Pandya (1 for 9) bowled miserly spells to restrict Bangalore to 142 for 5.

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After that, Virat Kohli handed over the ball to Badree and the legspinner got rid off Parthiv Patel, Rohit Sharma and McClenaghan in his second over, the third of the innings, to register the 15th hat-trick in IPL history.

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The heroics, though, went in vain as Pollard blasted a 47-ball 70, studded with five sixes and three fours, before Krunal (37 not out in 30 balls) did the finishing job to get Mumbai to 145 for 6 in 18.5 overs. While Kohli might have been disappointed at losing the toss and being asked to bat first, the crowd surely wasn’t – watching their favourite star come out to open along with Chris Gayle for the first time since the 2016 final against Sunrisers Hyderabad was a high enough. The two were watchful for the first couple of overs with Tim Southee, who replaced Lasith Malinga, out with illness, and Harbhajan Singh testing them with the off-stump line. 

Wedding photos of cricketers

Wedding photos of cricketers

But once Kohli got an idea of what the Mumbai bowlers were looking to do, he exploded in the third over. It started with him smoking Southee’s full-length delivery over long-on for a six and then he shuffled across a bit to find two boundaries on the leg side to announce his comeback in style. Gayle took even more time to get going before finding boundaries off Harbhajan’s bowling to inch closer to 10,000 career Twenty20 runs. Having got his eye in, the big Jamaican-batsman looked all set to flourish after the first strategic time out but instead fell just three short of the milestone. Gayle could only manage a 27-ball 22 before Hardik scalped him. Having lost Gayle, Kohli and AB de Villiers (19 in 21 balls) found it extremely difficult to get going against Hardik and Krunal in the middle overs. The equation changed a bit when Rohit brought Jasprit Bumrah in the 14th over and the two blasted the paceman for a six each.

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While de Villiers’s was more muscular, Kohli timed a full-length delivery beautifully over long-off to bring up his 27th half-century. Just when it looked like Kohli would take the game away from Mumbai, McClenaghan got rid of him in the 15th over, the captain walking back for a 47-ball 62 to leave the crowd in silence. Krunal had dismissed de Villiers in both the games the two teams played last year, and the left-arm spinner almost got him early in the 13th over when Jos Butler dropped a sitter at deep midwicket. The drop, however, didn’t cost Mumbai much as Rohit took a blinder at extra cover to make up for Buttler’s drop, making it three in three for Krunal.

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McClenaghan, who hasn’t been in a best of form coming into this game, made sure that his new clean-shaven look gained him some luck against the strong batting lineup. The left-hand pacer from New Zealand bowled with pace to make sure that the home side didn’t get any openings in the death overs. The loss of the Big Three meant that Bangalore lacked tempo in the last four overs, and Kedar Jadhav and Mandeep Singh’s wickets in quick succession only restricted them to what was a below-par total.

Early in the reply, Stuart Binny rocked Mumbai by accounting for Buttler in the very second over. Before Mumbai could even soak in the early loss, Badree wreaked havoc by claiming three in three to become the second player from Bangalore after Praveen Kumar (2010) to pick up a hat-trick. Parthiv was the first one to go, chipping a tossed up delivery to Gayle at short cover. Mumbai promoted McClenaghan to No. 4 but the move failed miserably as he heaved a full toss to long-on to register a golden duck. The next was Rohit, who has found himself struggling against legspinners in this year’s competition, having been dismissed to googlies twice in the previous two games.

Rohit once again fell to the wrong one to continue his woeful form since returning from a thigh injury, Badree slipping one between bat and pad to hit timber. The Badree magic didn’t stop there as he returned to send the in-form Nitish Rana (11 in 16) back to the pavilion to finish with the best figures for Bangalore on debut. Having lost half their side inside eight overs, Pollard and Krunal mixed caution with aggression to keep the scoreboard ticking over.

The two found the boundary at regular intervals before Pollard finally launched two hefty blows in the 15th over, Pawan Negi going for 19 runs to bring down the required rate below 10. Along the way, Pollard also brought up his 11th IPL half-century. Pollard was finally dismissed in the 18th over by Yuzvendra Chahal, but by then Mumbai was almost home. Hardik joined his brother in the middle and finished the game with a six to take his team to top of the table with six points.  

This was Mumbai’s seventh win in eight games in Bangalore over the years.

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