Chennai: AB de Villiers rolled back the years with his beautiful yet brutal assault as Royal Challengers Bangalore defeated defending champions Mumbai Indians by two wickets in a last-ball thriller in the Indian Premier League opener here on Friday.
De Villiers smashed 48 off 27 balls after RCB were down in the dumps at 106 for 5. Harshal Patel capped off his dream day by scraping a single off the final delivery to reach the target of 160 in 20 overs. Haryana’s Harshal finally had his night under the lights with 5 for 27, which helped RCB restrict MI to 159 for nine. MI again lost the first match as has been the tradition in the IPL but they lost it to de Villiers, who changed the script in a space of two overs by attacking the two MI spinners Rahul Chahar (0/43) and Krunal Pandya (1/25).
His attack prompted Rohit Sharma to finish his best bowler Jasprit Bumrah’s spell (2/26 in 4 overs) before the final over, from which seven runs were required. RCB were in control when Glenn Maxwell (39 off 28 balls) came in and upset leg-spinner Chahar’s line with a reverse-pull boundary.
Skipper Virat Kohli (33 off 29 balls) got a bit bogged down as the innings progressed. However, Maxwell’s attack meant that Kohli could take his time. It was MI’s strike bowler Bumrah, who came back for his second spell at the back-10 and removed the Indian captain with an angular delivery.
Earlier, Harshal produced a death over masterclass, which kept the MI total under check. He picked up three wickets in his final over for a run and also became the first bowler to pick up a five-wicket haul against Mumbai Indians. Reserve opener Chris Lynn (49 off 35 balls) partially made amends for his part in a horrible mix-up that led to skipper Rohit Sharma’s (19 off 15 balls) run-out, by adding 70 runs in seven overs for second wicket with Suryakumar Yadav (31 off 23 balls). That stand was the platform that MI needed to fire during the back-end.
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