Non selection in the Indian team for the forthcoming Australia tour seemed to have fired up Suryakumar Yadav as he took out all his frustration on the Royal Challengers Bangalore bowlers at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.
The ‘Mr Dependabale’ of the Mumbai Indians team hammered an unbeaten 79 runs to steer his side to a five-wicket victory against RCB with five balls to spare.
The eighth win also helped MI to book the playoffs berth with 16 points to their credit making them the first team to do so this season. With a healthy net run-rate of 1.186, MI are certain to make the cut even though they lose their last two ties.
The competition is so tough this is most matches it has taken the first team to reach 16 points in an eight-team IPL season. The previous record was 46 matches, in 2016.
Chasing a competitive target of 165, MI were always in control of the situation. Barring a few overs when RCB tried to make a comeback, it was smooth sailing for the defending champions, courtesy Suryakumar Yadav.
Ignored by the national selectors for the Australian tour, Yadav gave a timely reminder to the wisemen that he is there if the situation arises. Proving a point or two, the 30-year-old Yadav displayed his wonderful batting class. The No. 3 batsman was particularly dominant on the on-side where he executed sweeps and flicks to perfection.
Yadav’s 79 came off 43 deliveries and studded with ten fours and three sixes. MI were given a sound start by Quinton de Kock (18) and Ishan Kishan (25).
Yadav then maintained the steady run-rate with a series of delightful shots to all over the park.
Pandya brothers — Hardik (17) and Krunal (10) also chipped in with vital runs to support Yadav.
Mohammed Siraj (2-28) and Yuzvendra Chahal (2-37) tried hard but could not prevent the defeat.
Earlier, one of the top finds of the thirteenth edition of the IPL Devdutt Padikkal did no damage to his growing reputation with yet another brilliant knock.
The tall left-handed opening batsman notched up his highest IPL score of 74 to lead RCB to 164 for 6.
MI stand-in skipper Kieron Pollard won the toss and decided to field first. The 20-year-old Padikkal (74) and newcomer Josh Philippe (33) guided RCB to a competitive total. The duo of Padikkal and Philippe added 71 runs for the opening wicket.
The Virat Kohli-led side was given a good start by their new opening pair. Padikkal, who represents Karnataka in the Ranji Trophy, slammed a dazzling 74 and brought up his highest score in the IPL so far.
Philippe, who replaced Aaron Finch in the playing eleven, also batted quite well and grabbed his chance with both the hands.
After a flying start, RCB could not maintain the momentum as MI spinners halted their flow of runs. MI speedster Jasprit Bumrah, who returned with superb figures of 3 for 14, precluded a collapse with a twin blow in an over, as RCB went from 131 for 2 to 138 for 6 in the middle overs. Skipper Kohli was dismissed for just nine runs.
Some late assault by Gurkeerat Singh (14 not out) and Washington Sundar (10 not out) helped them post a 160 plus total on the board. Pollard, Trent Boult and Rahul Chahar took a wicket each.
On Thursday, Kolkata Knight Riders (12 points) will lock horns with Chennai Super Kings (8 points) in Dubai. It will be a crucial match for KKR to strengthen their chances for the playoffs. CKS is the only team which is already out of the reckoning.
Royal Challengers Bangalore 164 for 6 in 20 overs (Devdutt Padikkal 74, Josh Philippe 33, AB de Villiers 15, Gurkeerat Singh 14 not out, Washington Sundar 10 not out, Virat Kohli 9; Jasprit Bumrah 3-14, Kieron Pollard 1-5, Trent Boult 1-40, Rahul Chahar 1-43) lost to Mumbai Indians 166 for 5 in 19.1 overs (Suryakumar Yadav 79 not out, Ishan Kishan 25, Quinton de Kock 18, Hardik Pandya 17, Krunal Pandya 10; Mohammad Siraj 2-28, Yuzvendra Chahal 2-37, Chris Morris 1-36) by five wickets.
Man-of-the-match: Suryakumar Yadav (MI).