Harshal, Chahal expose Mumbai’s fragile batting

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safari
26 Sep 2021 | 06:48 PM
authorHardik Worah

Harshal, Chahal expose Mumbai’s fragile batting

The defending champions lost nine wickets for just 32 runs and failed to chase a par total

32 for 9! Royal Challengers Bangalore annihilated Mumbai Indians by 54 runs on Sunday (September 26) and earned their first win of the second half of the Indian Premier League 2021. Chasing 166 in Dubai, the defending champions were in the contest till the powerplay before Harshal Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal and Glenn Maxwell turned the game on its head and gave Bangalore their sixth win of the season, propelling them to the No. 3 spot in the points table. Meanwhile, Mumbai have now slipped to No. 7.

After smashing a stunning half-century with the bat, Maxwell got two crucial wickets in the second innings, including one of Mumbai skipper Rohit Sharma. Chahal too claimed three wickets before Harshal joined the party and ended up taking a hat-trick. Earlier, Virat Kohli scored yet another fifty but didn’t quite flex his muscles. The Men in Red could have easily got 180 but ended up with a total of 165/6, which at the end turned out to be more than enough.

Where is the intent, Virat?

Intent is probably Kohli’s second favourite word. However, the Indian and Bangalore skipper has been one of the slowest batters in IPL since 2020, especially in the middle-overs (7-15). The right-handed opener started positively against Mumbai, smoking three sixes in the first five overs. Kohli announced his arrival by whipping Trent Boult for a six in the very first over before pulling Jasprit Bumrah for his second maximum of the night. There was one more off Adam Milne and Kohli raced to 29* off 16 before Krunal Pandya and Rahul Chahar were introduced into the attack. The two spinners kept Kohli quiet and the right-hander only managed 22 off his next 26 deliveries.

This has been Kohli’s story for quite some time now. In IPL since 2020, Kohli operates at a strike rate of 135.65 against fast bowlers, which drops to 106.93 against spinners. What’s surprising is that he averages over 80 against spinners in this time frame but that’s only because of his super conservative approach, especially in the middle-overs. Amongst batters who have scored at least 300 runs since IPL 2020, Kohli (119.3) has the lowest strike rate on the first 40 deliveries.      

This season, Bangalore have the second-worst scoring rate (7.1), batting average (24.6), balls per wicket (20.8) and balls per boundary (8.6) in the middle-overs. Both Kohli (116.2) and AB de Villiers (89) have horrible strike rates in this period but the latter makes up for it by striking at 232.4 in the last five overs. Also, most of the time when de Villiers gets an opportunity to bat in the middle-overs, Bangalore would have lost three-four wickets in the first half of the innings.

Tonight, Bumrah got rid of Devdutt Padikkal for a duck in the second over but Kohli (42-ball 51) and Srikar Bharat (24-ball 32) put on 68 runs for the second wicket. Bangalore scored 48 runs in the powerplay and then got 71 runs in the next nine overs, largely because of Bharat and Glenn Maxwell (37-ball 56). Kohli operated at less than 100 in this phase, while Bharat took the attack to Rahul Chahar and scored at 158.3. Maxwell too had a strike rate of 121.7 and ensured Bangalore had a decent platform to launch in the last five overs.

Maxwell fires before Bumrah shows his class

After Bharat perished in the ninth over, RCB needed someone to keep the scoreboard racing and that’s when Maxwell stepped up. The Australian batter took 10 deliveries to settle in before launching a flurry of reverse sweeps. The 32-year-old reverse swept Chahar and Krunal Pandya for a six each and then got a six and a four off Milne while playing a similar shot. In total, Maxwell smashed three fours and as many sixes via reverse hits.

The stage was set for Maxwell and de Villiers to go berserk in the last four overs and the duo clobbered Bumrah and Milne for 30 runs in the space of two overs. However, the Indian ace paceman got his revenge in the next over and dismissed both Maxwell and de Villiers (6-ball 11) in the penultimate over. The 27-year-old finished with figures of 3/36 as Bangalore could only manage nine runs in the last two overs. Apart from Bumrah, Trent Boult (1/17) and Krunal (0/27) too bowled with great control.

Mumbai batters continue to struggle

If Bangalore have the second-worst batting average and balls per wicket, the corresponding numbers for Mumbai (23.4 and 19.3 respectively) are even worse. RCB were surely 15-20 runs short and the surface was still good for batting in the second innings. Rohit (28-ball 43) and Quinton de Kock (23-ball 24) added 57 runs for the opening wicket before Chahal, Maxwell and Harshal wreaked havoc after the powerplay. The five-time champions lost 10 wickets for just 54 runs and let Bangalore bowl them out for the first time in the history of the tournament. “Batters let us down. That's been something that's been happening consistently,” said Rohit after the game.

Rohit and de Kock got Mumbai off to a solid start before Chahal dismissed the latter to give Bangalore an opening. The legspinner found good support from Maxwell and Harshal as Mumbai kept losing wickets at regular intervals. Now, not just Mumbai, the Indian team management would also be worried about the form of Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan and Hardik Pandya. All three of them are going to be crucial members of the Indian batting line-up in the upcoming T20 World Cup. 

Suryakumar and Kishan were two of the most impactful batters in the last edition of the tournament but have hardly done anything fruitful this season. Hardik, who didn’t feature in the last two games, made his return and could only manage 3 runs. Chahal and Maxwell took five wickets between them before Harshal became only the third RCB bowler after Praveen Kumar (2010) and Samuel Badree (2017) to pick up an IPL hattrick.

The Purple Cap holder first had Hardik caught at cover on the first delivery of the 16th over and then knocked over Kieron Pollard with a superb slower yorker. Then came the beautiful off-cutter which dipped at the last moment and pinned Chahar right in front of the stumps, helping Harshal etch his name in the history books. The right-arm seamer then finished the job by knocking over Milne in the penultimate over.

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Indian Premier League, 2021Royal Challengers BangaloreMumbai IndiansHarshal PatelYuzvendra ChahalGlenn MaxwellVirat KohliRohit SharmaJasprit Bumrah

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