Hardik Pandya accounted for 3 scalps and a run-out    AFP
Hardik Pandya accounted for 3 scalps and a run out AFP

Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) have posted 167 for 7 against Mumbai Indians (MI) in their reverse fixture at M Chinnaswamy stadium, Bengaluru in Match 31 of ongoing VIVO IPL 2018. The surface has variable bounce, with the ball holding up at times, and adequate turn for tweakers. Will Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar take Virat Kohli-led RCB to their third win of the season?

Manan Vohra and Quinton de Kock commenced the innings. RCB had a clear plan: to keep wickets in hand, and exploit later. Vohra had a watchful start but took on JP Duminy in the powerplay overs. MI skipper Rohit Sharma’s ploy to bowl Duminy in the Powerplay overs didn’t work: he leaked 22 runs in the fourth over.

De Kock tried to join Vohra in the onslaught but perished soon. The move to push Brendon McCullum at No. 3 seemed strange. McCullum could not accelerate, allowing MI to come back during the middle overs. Meanwhile, Vohra suffered a lapse of concentration and departed for a 31-ball 45. Joining McCullum at No. 4 was Kohli, who should have batted higher.

McCullum finally broke the shackles and towed Hardik Pandya to take the score to 82 for 2 after 10 overs. His chancy innings came to an end while taking on Hardik’s arm for a quick single. Run-making continued to be tough. Even Kohli struggled for timing. The lack of pace on the wicket didn’t help. Mitchell McClenaghan and Jasprit Bumrah dried the run-flow. Mayank Markande bowled slow through the air and didn’t concede a lot.

After losing Kohli, Mandeep Singh and Sundar in an over courtesy Hardik’s off-cutters, RCB’s struggles continued. In the end, they managed only 28 in the last 3 overs. It is a sticky wicket but shouldn’t be a big challenge for a resurgent MI camp. Will Kohli and co. present their best foot forward?

Brief scores:

Royal Challengers Bangalore 167 for 7 in 20 overs (Manan Vohra 45, Brendon McCullum 37, Virat Kohli 32, Colin de Grandhomme 23*; Hardik Pandya 3 for 28, Mitchell McClenaghan 1 for 34, Jasprit Bumrah 1 for 22) vs Mumbai Indians