Mumbai: Kieron Pollard produced a splendid all-round display as Mumbai Indians thumped Royal Challengers Bangalore by 35 runs to storm into their maiden Indian Premier League final on Wednesday night.
Pollard struck a 13-ball 33 to help his side make a splendid recovery from early jolt in company of Saurabh Tiwary (52 not out) to post 184 for five after batting first and then snared three wickets for 17 runs as the home side restricted Bangalore to 149 for nine in the first semifinal at DY Patil Stadium.
With the win today, Mumbai, who failed to reach the semifinals in the last two editions of the IPL, also became the first team to qualify for this year’s Champions Twenty20 League.
Chasing a stiff 185 for a win, last year’s losing finalists Bangalore were never in the game with wickets falling at regular intervals and no substantial partnership coming up, the highest being a 34-run stand between Rahul Dravid and Robin Uthappa from 20 balls for the third wicket.
Ross Taylor top-scored for Banaglore with a 30-ball 31. Jacques Kallis (11), Rahul Dravid (23), Kevin Pietersen (19), Robin Uthappa (26) could not convert the starts to big scores.
Mumbai Indians skipper Sachin Tendulkar plays a shot during the first IPL-3 semi final match against Royal Challengers Bangalore at the D Y Patil Sports Stadium in Navi Mumbai on Wednesday. Shirish Shete /PTI
Lasith Malinga bowled beautifully by taking two Bangalore wickets and conceding 24 runs from his four overs. Harbhajan Singh took two wickets but was expensive, giving away 44 runs from his four overs.
At the end it was a comfortable win for Mumbai, who had topped the league tables with 20 points, the only point of concern was that captain Tendulkar, who is the top scorer in the tournament, suffered a right hand webbing split while taking a dropped catch of Dravid in the fourth over.
Kallis and Dravid gave a strong start in Bangalore’s run chase scoring two fours each in the first two overs bowled by Zaheer Khan and Dilhara Fernando before the former fell in the third over edging Malinga to Ambati Rayudu for 11.
Run rate came down after the first jolt but Bangalore were dealt another blow in the form of Kevin Pietersen who danced down the track to hoist Harbhajan Singh only to completely miss it and Rayudu making no mistake of the stumping chance.
Robin Uthappa was not the one to be lie low and he hit Harbhajan for two sixes in the ninth over which cost 18 runs to take the asking rate down below 10 an over.
But it was not Uthappa’s day and in the next over he was caught by Shikhar Dhawan while trying to hoist Kieron Pollard for a 13-ball 26 which was studded with two fours and two sixes.