By BV Swagath
AT Rayudu and Kieron Pollard played to their potential to carry Mumbai Indians to a thrilling win over hosts Royal Challengers Bangalore at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. Mumbai Indians won the match by 5 wickets with a couple of balls to spare thanks to a superb 120-run stand between AT Rayudu and Kieron Pollard.
Chasing 172 to win on a slightly greenish pitch, Mumbai Indians were in early trouble losing its star openers Tendulkar and Gibbs cheaply. By the 9th over, RCB were all over Mumbai Indians who slipped to a disastrous 51 for 5 which included the big wickets of Rohit Sharma and Dwayne Smith.
The match which already got off to a delayed start because of rain by nearly an hour saw another interruption when one of the four light towers failed all of a sudden in the 12th over. Play did start in sometime and Mumbai Indians got back into the match in style with Pollard and Rayudu counter attacking RCB.
The equation was soon brought down to 41 runs to win from 3 overs with Rayudu and Pollard still intact at the crease. The 18th over proved costly for RCB as Vinay Kumar was taken for 18 runs with Rayudu smashing him for a couple of sixes. The 19th over bowled by Zaheer Khan went for 9 runs to leave Mumbai Indians with 14 runs to get from the final over.
The final over was given to Chris Gayle who struggled to stop Kieron Pollard from running away with the game. Pollard whacked Gayle for a six and two consecutive boundaries to wrap up victory with two balls to spare. Kieron Pollard remained unbeaten on 52 from 31 balls with 5 fours and 3 sixes. AT Rayudu also stayed unbeaten, coming up with a match-winning 81* from 54 balls with 6 fours and 4 sixes. Muttiah Muralitharan’s efforts of 4-0-16-1 went in vain for the RCB. AT Rayudu got the Man of the Match award ahead of Pollard.