Mumbai: Medium pacer Dhawal Kulkarni removed Royal Challengers Bangalore's top order in the blink of an eye to help Mumbai Indians to a thumping 58-run win here at the Wankhede Stadium on Saturday night. This was Mumbai's fifth win in eight matches, while Bangalore suffered their third defeat in nine matches.
In pursuit of a gargantuan 195, Bangalore got their start off on the wrong foot with Mitchell Johnson and Lasith Malinga keeping Chris Gayle and Tillakaratne Dilshan in check. In an attempt to up the ante, Dilshan holed out to Johnson for 13 off Kulkarni in the sixth over with just 35 runs on the board. Two runs later, Gayle too succumbed to the ever-increasing pressure as Amabati Rayudu took a skier on the deep midwicket boundary off the bowling of Harbhajan Singh.
Buoyant by these big scalps, Mumbai went for the kill and Kulkarni saw off Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers in the space of three balls in the seventh over to throw Bangalore out of the contest. The visitors finished on 136 for 7 with Kulkarni returning with 3 for 19. Harbhajan and Dwayne Smith took two wickets apiece.
Earlier after electing to bat, Mumbai Indians got off to a flier with Sachin Tendulkar doing the bulk of the scoring. Tendulkar was looking good for a big score when RP Singh trapped him lbw for 23 as the veteran tried to play across the line.
The in-form Dinesh Karthik then joined Smith and the runs continued to flow for the home team with the latter taking the lead. Smith scored 50 off 36 balls to set the tone for a big total. Smith's innings that was studded with four fours and three sixes came to end when he tried to hit spinner Syed Mohammad out of the park but the slightly short ball kept low and rattled his stumps.
Rohit Sharma (10) had a brief stay at the crease due to a run-out after his misunderstanding with Karthik. Despite these jolts, Mumbai's run-rate kept going up with Kieron Pollard hitting top gear straight away. However, it all changed in the 18th over bowled by Vinay Kumar as Karthik, Rayadu and Pollard departed off three consecutive deliveries.
Karthik and Rayudu were the victims of brilliant direct throws from Kohli at cover, while Pollard was caught by Ravi Rampaul at third man. Mumbai were 169 for six at the completion of the over. However, Singh (16 off 8 balls) and Johnson (9* off 5 balls) came up with a few big hits in the dying stages to take Mumbai to 194 for 7.