Kieron Pollard and Jos Buttler provided lethal blows to guide the Mumbai Indians to a six-wicket victory over the Royal Challengers Bangalore on Wednesday.
The explosive pair put on 55 off just 26 balls, to make a potentially tight finish a comfortable one. It was their sixth victory of the campaign to lift themselves into fourth place. RCB, who have just four wins to their name, now need to win all four of their remaining matches to stand any chance of qualifying for the playoffs.
The side from Mumbai, who were humbled by the Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday, have now won four out of their last five matches, and put together a complete performance, showing discipline with the ball, before allowing their big-hitters to cross the line.
New Zealand pace pair Tim Southee and Mitchell McClenaghan were excellent up front and were backed up well by the spin duo of Krunal Pandya and Harbhajan Singh, as RCB’s star players failed to make an impact. Virat Kohli and Chris Gayle fell cheaply, while AB de Villiers stuttered to a 27-ball 24.
Their saviour was Lokesh Rahul, whose lowest score in the last six matches has been 38. His excellent form carried him to 68 off 53 balls, while a cameo from Sachin Baby (25 off 13), got them to 151-4.
It was a sluggish response as Rohit Sharma’s side struggled to get above six runs an over. They did keep the scoreboard ticking along though, as Sharma scored an almost run-a-ball 25, while Ambati Rayudu scored 44 off 47 balls. Both fell to superb catches from De Villiers.
In hindsight that proved a solid platform, because Pollard and Buttler were in lethal form. They struck five sixes between them to get their side over the line with eight balls remaining.