It was a contest between heavyweights, and champions Mumbai Indians consolidated their top-table spot by controlling the game against second-placed Royal Challengers Bangalore, mounting their best challenge to bag a first IPL title.
Neither team was in danger of missing out on the play-offs. So, it was a lot about spotting trends. The eagerly anticipated one, update on MI skipper and India opener Rohit Sharma’s fitness, didn’t come as Sharma, who has batted in the nets after a hamstring problem, sat out of the game. (IPL 2020 Full Coverage)
Jasprit Bumrah, the go-to bowler in any team he plays, and young opener Devdutt Padikkal put on a show in the first half, and Suryakumar Yadav carried the second half, scoring a brilliant, unbeaten 79 (43b, 10x, 3×6) to steer MI to a five-wicket win with five balls to spare.
Put in to bat, the 20-year-old Padikkal’s fourth fifty (74 – 45b, 12×4, 1×6) of IPL 2020 lifted RCB to 164/6 though skipper Virat Kohli (9) and AB de Villiers (15) failed to hand MI control after the solid start from Padikkal and Josh Philippe.
Bumrah has rediscovered his best. Back from a back injury early in the year, he initially was far from his best. Then came the long break forced by the pandemic. Even traces of anxiety have vanished and he set the tone for the game.
After a second over for five runs, stand-in skipper Kieron Pollard took him off. Brought back in the 12th over with Kohli struggling for timing, Bumrah induced him to miscue a pull to be caught at midwicket. It was double satisfaction as Bumrah took his 100th IPL scalp.
That over cost four runs. His next, the 17th of the innings, was a rare double-wicket maiden. Left-handers Shivam Dube—he holed out to midwicket—and Padikkal was caught at square-leg. Five more runs in the 19th over underlined Bumrah’s mastery. Pollard slipped in one over, getting AB de Villiers with a high full toss swung to deep square-leg.
If RCB could still mount a challenge, it was thanks to another Padikkal gem. Karnataka batsman Padikkal has showed exceptional consistency. In 12 innings, he has fallen short of double figures only twice. Every time Padikkal has scored 25, RCB have won, Wednesday proving an exception. He has got to that mark seven times.
Suryakumar Yadav has been so consistent for MI. He too mostly played orthodox shots, lofted hits over extra-cover and square-leg fetching fluent boundaries, ensuring the champions never lost control.