Disciplined bowling and controlled batting keep Bangalore on the top in their battle with Mumbai Indians. It was one of the rare situations when Vinay Kumar got right reward for what he rightfully deserved. He took the wickets of Ambati Rayudu, Tendulkar and Bravo in a single over that changed the course of the match. He benefited in part from the pressure created by his team-mates’ smart swing bowling, changes of pace, bouncers to Indian batsmen, and aggressive spin bowling by Anil Kumble as the Challengers restricted Mumbai Indians to 151.
There is no change in the roles of Jacques Kallis and Manish Pandey as they continued their superb form to score 50-run first wicket partnership for the 3rd match consecutively. Kallis was left as not out again as he tightened the orange cap around him with 264 runs in his tally. Pandey fired some quick runs but was unsuccessful in turning it into a huge innings.
With the loss of Uthappa and Kohli after their quick fires, Bangalore seemed to be in trouble but Kallis stood rock solid as he took Bangalore to the comfort zone.
The Bangalore openers will be the first ones to concede that the night belonged to their bowlers. Praveen Kumar and Dale Steyn laid the foundation by controlling the rampaging batting line-up that had scored 200-plus in both their previous matches. Praveen, with his swing either side in his first over, sent the message that scoring wouldn’t be that easy against this attack, and Steyn in his first got Sanath Jayasuriya plumb in front of wickets with a quick outswinger.
They crumbled like cookies in front of their home crowd at Brabourne Stadium. From 36 for 1, they inexplicably slumped to 76 for 6 after 11 overs. If Mumbai’s extraordinary batting failed, it was largely due of some fine bowling by the Bangalore bowlers, who kept a tight line and forced the batsmen to make mistakes.
Though a brief period of sanity prevailed when Sachin Tendulkar (25) presided over the matter along with Saurabh Tiwary (25), both flayed bowlers mercilessly and picked runs effortlessly. If Sachin was epitomy of elegance in his stroke making, Saurabh was sheer brute force.
The Bangalore bowlers struck with their nasty plan of bouncers for Indian youngsters as they got Tare out with a similar ball. Tiwary gave some stunning replies for the bouncers but Jumbo sent him to dug-out with a nice looped delivery.
The medium-pacer Vinay Kumar, who got zero wicket in the last two matches, came back brilliantly to rise to his captains expectation and took three wickets in one over to completely break the back of Mumbai’s batting. He finished with an impressive figure of 3 for 25 in his 4 overs and Steyn was equally impressive and picked up 3 for 26.
However, in a rather remarkable rear-end action, Kieron Pollard (21), R Sathish (24) and Zaheer Khan (23) propped up Mumbai’s crumbling innings and ensured it reached some respectability. Zaheer was particularly belligerent and he got those runs in just nine balls, which included three fours and a huge six. In the end, they were 151 for 9.