Over the last two days, three venues in India hosted the 22nd, 23rd, and 24th matches of IPL 2014. In Mumbai’s Wankhede stadium, MI looked like repeating the rhythm of their past defeats until Aditya Tare came on the scene. The little guy lit up the scene on arrival and showed big man Pollard what power-hitting at crucial stages meant. Pollard obliged and the two them carried MI to their first IPL win this season. Mumbai’s victory also snapped KXIP’s 5-match winning streak. In Delhi, RR made the 153-run chase look easy against DD with Karnataka rookie Karun Nair leading the charge and at Bangalore, AB de Villiers single-handedly won the game for RCB. It was a welcome resurrection for Kohli’s power-packed side, which had lost the last three games in a row.
KXIP elected to bat against MI after winning the toss. Despite MI getting rid of Pujara and Sehwag early in the innings, KXIP were unperturbed. Saha came at no.3 and Maxwell at 4. Though Saha was too slow, Maxwell continued with his reputation of hitting at everything thrown at him. The two of them added 69 in 8.2 overs, when Maxwell got out for a quick-fire 45 off 27 balls, including 5 fours and 2 sixes. Punjab’s scoring rate fell with Saha yielding too many dot balls. But in 14th over, Saha cut loose and scored 15 runs. Harbhajan removed Bailey but KXIP had no worries with Saha finding his touch and Miller keeping him company. These two added 35 before Miller got out in the 20th over and KXIP finished with 168/5. Saha remained unbeaten for 59 off 47 balls with 4 fours and 3 sixes. MI lost Ben Dunk in the first over and Rayudu in the third. Rohit Sharma and Gautam, however, added 47, before Gautam fell for 33 off 29 balls with 2 fours and 2 sixes. Sharma and Anderson continued until 16th over, when Sharma fell to an indiscreet shot for 39 off 34 balls. The asking rate for MI kept mounting as overs progressed. At the end of 16th over, Pollard had already played 2 balls without scoring and Anderson was unbeaten on 34. When Anderson fell in the 17th over for 35, Tare joined Pollard, who had still failed to find his rhythm. The required rate mounted to 13.66, with 3 overs remaining. Just when the MI camp looked dejected, Tare provided relief by cutting loose in the 18th over and collecting 15 runs. Pollard had scored only 3 off 5 balls by then. With 12 ball remaining, MI required 25. Watching Tare, trying his best, Pollard got a cue. He lifted the first ball from Mitchell Johnson’s 19th over into the stands. The next one was a wide, after which Tare and Pollard ran for two couples off the next two balls. Pollard belted two boundaries off the 4th and 5th balls from Johnson and scored a single off the last ball to keep the strike. The big man finished the match for MI with a six off the first ball from Sandeep Sharma, as MI cruised to their first victory this season.
In the other match later on Saturday, RR sent Delhi in after winning the toss. DD had a good 33 run start from their openers Kock and Vijay. After Vijay’s wicket, KP joined Kock and the two of them scored another 36, before KP fell as Tambe’s first of the two victims. Tambe removed Kock as well in the same over. Karthik and Duminy consumed the next 31 balls for just 24 runs and DD suffered because of this. However, in the closing stages, young Kedar Jadhav and seasoned Duminy displayed great enterprise. Jadhav made 28 off 14 balls and Duminy 39 off 31. DD finished with 152/5, which was not too bad in the end. The 153-run chase by RR had a professional touch despite Ajinkya Rahane falling early to a brilliant catch by Murali Vijay for 12. One-drop batsman Sanju Samson and new openers Karun Nair added 51 for the second wicket, before Nadeem deceived Samson with the flight and Karthik made no mistake with stumping him. Rajat Bhatia and Nair then added 44 runs in about 5 overs with RR moving well with the asking rate. After Bhatia got out, Watson joined Nair and the two of them finished a seemingly easy victory over DD with 9 balls to spare.
In the match between RCB and SRH, Kohli took the field after winning the toss. Hyderabad lost two quick wickets in 4th over. Dhawan and Warner, however, steadied the boat and put up 62 for third wicket in good time, before Dhawan got out. With Warner making a solid 61 off 49 balls and Naman Ojha chipping in with useful 15, SRH finished with a competitive 155/6 in 20 overs. Set to chase 156, Parthiv Patel and Virat Kohli both fell in the 2nd over, while Chris Gayle continued at the other end. But when Gayle too fell for 27 in the 7th over, RCB were in dire straits with 38/3. Debutant Rilee Rossouw departed next after a labored 14 off 23 balls, followed by Yuvraj Singh, who made 14 off 16. AB de Villiers, who stood at 33 from 19 balls, watched the tragic drama from the other end. With 61 required from 33 balls, RCB were staring at their fourth defeat in a row. But de Villiers was not finished yet. He came into action by hitting 2 sixes and a four from innings’ 16th over from Darren Sammy. Dale Styen, however yielded only 3 runs off the 17th over and Bhuvi Kumar spent 9 of the 18th. With two overs remaining, a pall of gloom spread in the stands as RCB needed 28 with Styen’s over coming up next. Precisely at this point, de Villiers went berserk. He went into a merciless mode tearing Styen’s bowling apart to take 24 runs in that 19th over sending Bangalore fans went into raptures. Mitchell Starc’s run-out of Irfan Pathan’s first ball of the 20th over almost spoiled RCB’s party. Two singles were taken, before de Villiers sent Pathan’s 5th ball to the ropes. RCB had won solely on the amazing efforts of AB de Villiers, who finished unbeaten on 89 off 41 balls with 6 fours and 8 sixes.
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