The opening match of the 2021 Indian T20 League season did not disappoint the fans and ended in a last-ball thriller. Bangalore won the match by just 2 wickets.
The first game saw some unexpected names make their mark early in the tournament. After being benched the whole last season, Chris Lynn made his debut for Mumbai and scored a crucial 49 at the top of the order. While the trio of Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard and Krunal Pandya was unable to get going, Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan’s cameos helped Mumbai in reaching the score of 159 runs in the first innings. In the second innings, Jasprit Bumrah returned with bowling figures of 2 for 26.
For Bangalore, Harshal Patel’s final over burst and AB de Villiers’ timely assault were the standout performances in the game. Skipper Kolhi’s 33 and Maxwell’s quick-fire 39 also helped to chase the target for the team. Chahal was expensive while Washington Sundar picked up the key wicket of Lynn in his only over bowled.
Here are the top three performers of the Mumbai vs. Bangalore game.
1. Harshal Patel (Maiden 5-wicket haul)
Harshal shined in his very first game for his new team, after being acquired in the off-season trade from Delhi after the 2020 season. He bowled the 16th, 18th, and 20th over of the Mumbai innings, taking 12 for 5 in his spell. He dismissed the dangerous-looking Hardik in the 16th over and then went on to take 3 wickets in the final over of the innings, dismissing Krunal, Pollard and Jansen. Bowling a lot of slower balls, he dashed the hopes of a 170+ score for Mumbai and left Bangalore with a target of 160 to chase.
2. Marco Jansen (Double-strike)
With Glenn Maxwell well set on 39 and scoring boundaries freely, a slower bouncer from debutant Marco Jansen got rid of him at a crucial phase of the innings. Bangalore still required 57 runs off 36 balls at that time. In the same over, he took the wicket of all-rounder Shahbaz Ahmed, who was trying to clear the field. Though AB de Villiers and Dan Christian were yet to bat, the asking rate had gone above 10 and things got a little tougher for Bangalore. Jansen finished with figures of 2 for 28 in his 4 overs.
3. AB De Villiers (The Saviour)
Like so many times before, de Villiers delivered for the Bangalore team in a crucial situation. He came in at No. 5, lower than most people would have expected for a player like him. With the asking rate getting difficult, he produced a wide range of confident strokes and scored boundaries with ease on a slightly difficult pitch. He scored 48 runs off just 27 balls and was dismissed with just 2 runs required to win. Without him, Bangalore would have ended up short in their run chase.
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