RCB vs MI: Harshal Patel the man for Royal Challengers Bangalore, again

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Harshal Patel is fast turning out to be Mumbai Indians’ nemesis. He’s a bowler Mumbai won’t forget in a hurry. For the second time this season, the seamer (4/17) turned out to be the game changer for Royal Challengers Bangalore against Mumbai. In the first leg of the competition in India, Harshal had returned 5/27 against the defending champions.

On Sunday night at the Dubai International Stadium, the 30-yearold from Haryana turned up the heat with an awe-inspiring hattrick, the third by an RCB bowler, to propel his team to a comprehensive 54-run win. Chasing RCB’s 165/6, Mumbai Indians were bowled out for a paltry 111 in 18.1 overs.

Skipper Virat Kohli would be a pleased man with his bowling unit, which put the team back on track and dealt a telling blow to Mumbai’s march into the playoffs.

The Mumbai middle-order, which includes T20 World Cupbound Ishan Kishan (9), Suryakumar Yadav (8) and Hardik Pandya (3), fell in a heap as Mumbai lost the plot midway through the innings. The batsmen looked clueless as Harshal put out a concoction of cutters and slower ones as Hardik, Kieron Pollard and Rahul Chahar became his hat-trick victims.

Yuzvendra Chahal couldn’t have found form at a better time and returned figures of 4-1-11-3. Adding spice to the RCB show was an all-round display by Glenn Maxwell (56 & 2/23).

Rohit (43) and Quinton de Kock (24) got the team off to a steady start, but their dismissals was also the end of the story for MI as none of the other batsmen managed double figure scores. Mumbai lost eight wickets for the addition of 30 runs.

Earlier, off the second ball of the innings, Kohli timed a fuller delivery from Trent Boult over deep square leg, and for a few seconds it looked like the RCB skipper’s stay at the crease was ending even before he warmed up. But Chahar couldn’t quickly reach up to the ball which went over the ropes.

He was offered another lifeline by Hardik Pandya (in the ninth over) and Kohli didn’t let up on Mumbai’s generosity as he struck a 42-ball 51 (3×4; 3×6), his second half-century on the trot. In the process, Kohli also became the first Indian to reach the 10,000-run mark in T20 cricket.

His innings, much like the one against Chennai, lost bite in the middle, but Glenn Maxwell lit up the night with an electric display of switch and reverse hits en route to his sizzling 37-ball 56 (6×4; 3×6).

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