In a high-scoring contest at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru, the Mumbai Indians opened their account in Pepsi IPL 2015 defeating hosts Royal Challengers Bangalore by 18 runs. After being put in to bat, MI posted 209 for 7 – the highest total of the competition, and then restricted the home side to 191-7.
It was the batsmen – who have had endured some difficult times in the earlier matches – who set up the match for MI. The opening pair of Lendl Simmons and Parthiv Patel guided their team to 47, after which MI consolidated through cameos from Unmukt Chand and skipper Rohit Sharma.
Simmons was quiet to begin with – scoring just one run off the first eight deliveries he faced, but cut loose thereafter; his first aggressive stroke was a pull to a short delivery off Varun Aaron in the second over. That set the ball rolling as the West Indian batsman picked up three boundaries off Aaron in the fourth over and dispatched two to the fence in Abu Nechim's fifth over. Unmukt Chand, who batted at three, didn't waste too much time to feast on perhaps the best batting conditions in the competition; he picked up consecutive boundaries off Iqbal Abdullah, then hit one out of the park off the same bowler, and added a four and a six to his tally in Yuzvendra Chahal's first over. Mumbai Indians were placed at 83 for 1 at the half-way stage.
Simmons added 14 more to his total in the eleventh over – bowled by Aaron – courtesy one massive hit that kissed the roof of the Chinnaswamy Stadium and came back down to the earth and two other boundaries. He brought up his half-century in the following over – off 36 balls, before top-edging an attempted slog-sweep that landed in the hands of fine-leg. He made 59 from 44 balls in an innings studded with nine boundaries and two sixes.
Skipper Rohit Sharma – whose previous innings at the venue was a double century in an ODI against Australia – joined Chand in the middle and the pair went hammer and tongs on the helpless RCB bowlers. While Chand continued to play his shots, Sharma turned on the heat from the word go; the stand out shot from the MI skipper's cameo was the silken drive off Aaron that had enough to clear the ropes at the cover boundary.
The 17th over of the innings bowled by Abu Nechim was the most entertaining of the innings; Sharma hammered the first ball out of the midwicket boundary, late cut one to the thirdman boundary, deposited the fifth boundary over midwicket with a wristy flick and picked up a six off the final ball of the over through a top-edged pull.
For RCB, the leg-spinner Chahal was the pick of the bowlers, returning with respectable figures of two for 28 from his four overs. Debutant David Wiese was the most successful bowler, returning figures of 4 for 33.
When it was their turn to chase, the RCB opening pair of Chris Gayle and Manvinder Bisla found it difficult to adjust to the pace of the pitch – a task which was made further difficult with the MI bowlers consistently using the slower deliveries. Both the openers were cleaned up by the off-spinner Harbhajan Singh. Bisla (20 from 16 balls) was the first to go in the fifth over, while Gayle made an uncharacteristic 10 (24 balls) before both batsmen had their stumps disturbed.
When both Virat Kohli and Dinesh Karthik were dismissed, RCB were left needing 113 more runs from 7.5 overs. If there was one man in the world who could do it, it was AB de Villiers, who was out in the middle. The South African lit up the stadium with an incredible assault; he had raced to 18 runs as the first four balls he faced found the ropes. Lasith Malinga wasn't spared too; he was hit for consecutive boundaries and consecutive sixes in the 13th over. But once he was dismissed in the 15th over – after scoring 41 from 11 balls – the contest was all but done and dusted.
Wiese made it a dream IPL debut scoring 47 in the final quarter of the run-chase to add to his four wickets earlier in the evening. But the task in front of him was too huge and RCB finished their 20 overs at 191-7.
For MI, Harbhajan Singh was the most successful bowler of the evening; the off-spinner, who finished with figures of 3 for 27, celebrated two milestones on the day – playing his 100th IPL match and picking up his 100th IPL wicket.
Mumbai Indians 209-7 in 20.0 Overs (Lendl Simmons 59, David Wiese 4-33) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 191-7 in 20.0 Overs (David Wiese 47*, Harbhajan Singh 3-27)
Man of the Match: Harbhajan Singh for his 3-27