Mumbai Indians moved two points clear at the top of the IPL table with a dramatic five-wicket victory over struggling Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Monday.
Mumbai skipper Rohit Sharma was the hero for his side, making an unbeaten 56 from 37 balls to secure the victory that means Mumbai need just one more win to be assured of a Playoff place and to keep them on course for finishing in the top-two places.
As for Bangalore, Virat Kohli’s side are now all but out of the tournament, sitting second bottom with five points from 11 matches and their fate now resting on results elsewhere going their way and winning their remaining three matches.
Having won the toss and elected to bat first, Royal Challengers Bangalore were much improved with the bat but still some way off their best cricket.
A lowest ever IPL score of 49 all-out was followed up with being dismissed for 134 and then a paltry effort of 96-9.
The improvement saw them muster 162-8 with AB de Villiers top scoring with 43, Kedar Jadhav (28) and Pawan Negi (35) also chipping in.
For Mumbai, Mitchell McCelanaghan (3-34) was the standout performer with the ball, Krunal Pandya also contributing with 2-34 as Bangalore at least gave themselves a chance of winning despite the total being a more than capable chase for Mumbai.
The Mumbai response got off to the worst possible start, Parthiv Patel mistiming a pull shot to mid-wicket to hand Aniket Choudhary a wicket with the first ball of the innings.
Jos Buttler (33) and Nitish Rana (27) settled the innings before three wickets for 27 runs left Mumbai 98-4 after 13 overs and the match moving in Bangalore’s favour, with Pawan Negi removing both Buttler and Rana in quick succession.
Krunal Pandya retired hurt shortly after and by the time Karn Sharma was dismissed by Shane Watson, the hosts were effectively 130-6 and struggling.
However, Sharma was not going down without a fight, sensationally moving his side first within touching distance of victory and then over the line to secure the points an unbeaten half century.
In fitting fashion, Sharma sealed the win with a four through cover to clinch the win with a ball to spare.