Hardik’s blitz, Maliga magic helps MI take down RCB

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Mumbai, April 16: Hardik Pandya produced a sensational late cameo of 37 not out off just 16 balls as he guided Mumbai Indians to a five-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore in an IPL match here on Monday.
Chasing 172 for a win, the match was in a balance when he came out in the 16th over but Hardik, who was named in India’s World Cup squad on Monday, turned the game on its head, smashing five boundaries and two sixes during his unconquered 16-ball innings on a turning track at the Wankhede Stadium.
Mumbai needed 22 runs from the last two overs but Hardik took just six balls to hit the required runs, smashing left-arm spinner Pawan Negi for two boundaries and as may sixes to end the run chase.
He finished the game with a single off the last ball of the penultimate over as Mumbai reached 172 for 5 in 19 overs.
This was Mumbai’s fifth win in eight games and they are now at third spot with 10 points, while RCB suffered their seventh defeat in eight matches and the Virat Kohli-led team are languishing at the bottom of the table.
Earlier, veteran Sri Lankan pacer Lasith Malinga took four wickets for 31 runs as Mumbai restricted RCB to 171 for 7.
Mumbai were off to a flying start in their run chase with openers Rohit Sharma (28) and Quinton de Kock (40) finding the boundaries with ease.
De Kock took 16 runs from the third over bowled by Umesh Yadav, smashing two boundaries and a six while captain Rohit was elegant as ever, hitting a four and a six off Mohammed Siraj the next over.
Mumbai were wallopping at 67 for no loss at the end of first powerplay overs but suddenly off-spinner Moeen Ali (2/28) brought RCB back into the match with a two-wicket burst in a single over.
The Englishman removed the two set openers Rohit and de Kock in the space of four deliveries in the eighth over. Rohit was done in by a delivery which turned viciously from the offside while de Kock was plumbed in front as he was beaten by a delivery which skidded instead of turning and Mumbai were 71 for 2 in 7.4 overs. (PTI)