The Royal Challengers Bangalore are finally up and running
in the UAE in IPL 2021 with Virat Kohli’s side registering a comfortable 54-run
victory over the defending champions Mumbai in Dubai. An outstanding
performance from Glenn Maxwell with the bat took RCB to 165 before the
Bangalore spinners strangled the Mumbai middle order, and Harshal Patel wiped
off the tail with his maiden IPL hat-trick.
RCB lost seven consecutive games in the UAE heading into
this fixture but started the game strongly after being put in to bat. Although
Bumrah managed to remove Padikkal early – Virat Kohli shared a promising
partnership with Srikhar Bharat at the top. The RCB captain played some
imperious strokes against the likes of Adam Milne and Jasprit Bumrah and became
the first Indian to score 10,000 runs in T20 cricket in his innings of 51.
Kohli was provided good company by Srikar Bharat – who hit
two sixes off Rahul Chahar – and then Glenn Maxwell, who provided some
much-needed acceleration through the middle overs. Maxwell unfurled his entire
arsenal of reverse sweeps and switch-hits as he targeted the shorter boundary
against the spinners before taking 16 runs off Adam Milne’s over on his way to
his 3rd half-century of the season.
AB de Villiers also provided brief entertainment with two
boundaries off Jasprit Bumrah – but the Mumbai pacer reminded the world why he
is considered the best in the business as he removed both Maxwell and de
Villiers off consecutive deliveries in the 19th over. Those two wickets brought
Mumbai back into the game as Bumrah and Boult conceded only nine runs between
them in the final two overs – giving the defending champions a target of
The openers – Rohit Sharma and Quinton de Kock – got off to
an excellent start in the run-chase, taking 56 runs from the powerplay with
Sharma hitting a hat-trick of boundaries against Kyle Jamieson before Quinton
de Kock went after Daniel Christian and Mohammed Siraj.
The RCB spinners, however, stemmed the flow of runs and
changed the game for Virat Kohli in the middle overs. Yuzvendra Chahal outfoxed
Quinton de Kock and had him caught on the boundary before Rohit Sharma holed
out to long-on against Glenn Maxwell.
The promotion of Krunal Pandya also proved to be
ineffective, and the Mumbai middle order which has been the backbone of their
success in recent years – has been completely out of form so far this season. Ishan
Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav both fell cheaply before Harshal Patel joined the
party and claimed a hat-trick as Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard and Rahul Chahar
all fell victims to his slower-balls and variations.
Mumbai eventually stumbled to 111 all-out and the 5-time
champions continue to fall down a slippery slope in the second phase of the
Indian Premier League as they find themselves in 7th position on the table
after suffering their 3rd consecutive defeat in the UAE.