Hardik Pandya’s superlative innings of 37 runs from 16 balls helped Mumbai Indians take down Royal Challengers Bangalore by five wickets in Mumbai on Monday. However, Mumbai could have been chasing a much higher total had Kieron Pollard not run AB de Villiers out in the last over of RCB’s innings.
De Villiers, who was batting brilliantly on 68 runs from 49 balls, set himself up for a final flourish with a six off Malinga’s bowling in the first ball of the last over. In the next ball, the South African struck the ball towards the long-on area and was always going to take two runs since Akshdeep Nath was running towards the danger end. De Villiers started his second run before he was denied one by Akshdeep. By the time De Villiers could return to the crease at the non-striker’s end, Pollard had effected a direct hit to run him out.
With De Villiers back in the hut, Malinga conceded just two runs and picked up two wickets off the last four balls. If De Villiers made it to the striker’s end in the second ball of the last over, then the Mumbai Indians would have certainly been set a much higher target. However, Mumbai restricted Bangalore to 171/7 and then chased the total in 19 overs with five wickets in hand.
“It’s been tough for me in the last couple of weeks because I had to go back to Sri Lanka to play domestic cricket. But I realized whenever I play I got to give my 100 percent and today I did my best and we won the game. We have to prepare mentally for this kind of a tournament. Skill-wise you obviously know what to do. AB is a dangerous player, so we try to minimize the boundaries against him. When he got out, I used my variations to take wickets,” said Malinga after receiving the Player of the Match award.