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Mumbai mow down 200 to jump from eighth to third

Mumbai Indians 200 for 4 (Suryakumar 83, Wadhera 52*, Vyshak 2-37) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 199 for 6 (Maxwell 68, du Plessis 65, Behrendorff 3-36) by six wickets

If ever you needed an example of a team walking home in a 200 chase without any stress, this was it. And in doing so, Mumbai Indians fired their IPL 2023 campaign into orbit as they made a stunning climb from No. 8 to No. 3 after razing down Royal Challengers Bangalore in another six-fest at the Wankhede.

At the forefront of their march were Suryakumar Yadav and Nehal Wadhera, who put together 140 off just 64 balls in a sensational spell of on-demand boundary hitting that had seasoned bowlers such as Josh Hazlewood, Wanindu Hasaranga and Harshal Patel searching for answers.

From 101 needed off 60, Suryakumar’s pyrotechnics that brought him his IPL best – a 35-ball 83 – brought the equation down to 8 off 26 when he walked off to a standing ovation. It was his fourth fifty-plus score in his last six outings, marking a sensational turnaround in fortunes after a cold first half.

Suryakumar’s partner for much of that innings, Wadhera, made the most of his promotion up the order in Tilak Varma’s absence due to a niggle. The ferocity of their partnership had a deflating effect on RCB, who now join a cluttered mid-table that has four teams on 10 points with a possibility of a fifth joining there on Wednesday night.

Behrendorff’s powerplay act

Long before there was an inkling of what was to come, Jason Behrendorff set the stage alight at Wankhede by stinging his former team with the wickets of Virat Kohli and Anuj Rawat. Kohli was out giving him the charge off his fourth ball, nicking a heave that was overturned through DRS, while Rawat’s top edge to an attempted scoop landed in Cameron Green’s lap as he ran back from slip.

Prior to the double-strike, Behrendorff could’ve also had du Plessis first ball if Wadhera hadn’t dropped him at midwicket. Du Plessis, though, made them pay along with Glenn Maxwell as the pair quickly offset RCB’s early losses to fire them from 16 for 2 to 56 for 2 after six overs.

The Maxwell-Faf show

RCB’s soft middle order has been a cause for concern all season, but Maxwell and du Plessis weren’t going to die wondering. In fact, du Plessis took two fours off Chawla and continued the attack against Green. On the other side of the powerplay, Maxwell welcomed Chris Jordan – Jofra Archer’s replacement in the XI – by pumping him for two sixes in his very first over to raise the half-century of the partnership off just 25 balls. As it turned out, it was just the start of the mayhem that was to follow.

Du Plessis was all muscle, backing away to swing cleanly if he wasn’t lofting through the line on instinct. Maxwell was a mix of the inventive and the ridiculous, switch-hitting, slog-sweeping, scooping and reverse-ramping his way, treating the bowling with such disdain that you wondered if Mumbai were in for a target in the vicinity of 230. The pair had put on 120 off just 60 balls when Maxwell dragged one across the line to deep midwicket for a 33-ball 68.

The RCB slowdown

RCB would lose Mahipal Lomror and du Plessis, for a 45-ball 61, in the next two overs to expose that brittle lower middle order. It’s at this point that RCB decided to summon their Impact Player by bringing in Kedar Jadhav. It was now on him and Dinesh Karthik to give the finishing kick.

Karthik struggled for rhythm, but flicked a switch from 8 off 7, to slam Kumar Kartikeya’s left-arm spin in the 18th over. But his dismissal with 11 balls left had RCB shortchanged. Akash Madhwal, the rookie seamer, delivered an excellent final over, only his second in the game, that went for six as RCB finished with 199; the last five had just brought them 48 runs.

The Kishan turbocharge

Five runs, four innings, two ducks.

Rohit Sharma shredded that with a ferocious flat-bat off Hazlewood first ball. Ishan Kishan followed Rohit’s cue to take the attack to Mohammed Siraj, flicking and whipping his way to sixes. In trying to sustain his onslaught against spin, he was out to Hasaranga after hitting him for a four and six. Two balls later, Rohit was out lbw to a delivery he tried to nudge against the turn to one that didn’t turn as much as he expected. Mumbai were up against it at 52 for 2 in five overs.

SKY takes over

Over the next five overs, Suryakumar and Wadhera kept up with the asking rate by playing risk-free cricket, before the flick was well and truly switched on. Hasaranga’s return to deliver the 11th with Mumbai needing 101 more led to a torrent as both batters picked a six apiece.

Du Plessis now went back to Hazlewood to stifle the scoring, especially with Harshal Patel struggling for rhythm. But Suryakumar’s grand hitting behind the V, where he used pace to takedown Hazlewood and Siraj for sixes behind square on either side, left everyone awestruck. He brought up his half-century off just 26 balls, and then raised the tempo even more by nonchalantly lofting a slot-ball from Siraj into the second tier down the ground.

By now, Suryakumar was seeing it like a football, so big that even a beamer aimed at his body was swatted away for six like it was child’s play. His dismissal to Vyshak Vijaykumar in a double-wicket over was somewhat of an anti-climax at the end, but by then the result was a foregone conclusion.

Wadhera fittingly finished it off with a lofted six over cover to bring up a second-straight fifty. By then, Mumbai had razed down the fastest 200 chase in IPL history – with 21 balls to spare – and the second-fastest overall.

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