Having won the toss and elected to bat first, Mumbai Indians stuttered to an unimposing total of 139 from their 20 overs in the CLT20 2011 final against Royal Challengers Bangalore. Tillakaratne Dilshan then set off at full speed, aided by a loose first over from Lasith Malinga, and the writing appeared to be on the wall for the IPL runners up.
It was a brilliant spell of limited overs bowling from Mumbai skipper Harbhajan Singh that took the game away from RCB. His spell of three for 20 included the key wickets of Chris Gayle and Virat Kohil atop the order, before slashing the throat of Bangalore’s lower order with the wicket of opposite number Daniel Vettori.
Harbhajan’s assured performance makes you wonder why he wasn’t included in India’s squad for the upcoming ODIs against England. If it was a reaction that the BCCI selectors were looking for, though, they got it here.
Mumbai’s bowling unit stood up to be counted when it mattered. After a dire start from Malinga – a no ball that was flogged for four by Dilshan, Mumbai heads appeared to drop.
It was Malinga, though, at the start of the fifth over who removed Dilshan. It was a momentum changer as Bangalore never recovered their footing in the game thereafter as Harbhajan commenced his miserly spell.
The equation could have been much worse for Mumbai heading into the second innings of the game but for a sprightly knock of 41 by Kiwi veteran James Franklin. Ambati Rayudu and Suryakumar Yadav also passed 20 as Mumbai laboured on a slow looking surface.
There was also an important innings from Malinga, who smashed 16 runs to give the tail end total a semblance of respectability.
RCB will be wondering how they didn’t win this game. A good bowling performance, notably from Dirk Nannes (one for 14 from his four overs), gave them a very solid looking platform and they were all smiles at half time.
The smiles soon turned to furrowed brows, however, as Mumbai turned the screw and wrestled back the initiative. That they eventually won by 31 says as much for Mumbai’s inspired defence of a low looking total as it does of Bangalore’s limp batting performance.
By Miles Reucroft