Fit-again Virat Kohli key to RCB's fortunes against Mumbai

The M Chinnaswamy Stadium is a small ground. It was only later in the day that Kieron Pollard changed the script for batsmen and produced a match-winning act. The away numbers - RCB has made 172 and 148 for four in its allotted 20 overs - are not pleasing either.

In pursuit of RCB's 142/5, Mumbai had a horrendous start as Badree snared a hat-trick in the third over, removing Parthiv Patel (3), Mitchell McClanaghan (0) and Rohit Sharma (0) to plunge the visitors to 7/4, with opener Jos Buttler (2) already being dismissed by Stuart Binny in the second over. If RCB's' slow build-up was supposed to lead to fireworks in the slog overs, they probably didn't account for having new batsmen at the crease on a hard pitch to start hitting immediately.

While Rahane failed in the previous match, Smith and Rahul looked good during their 64-run second wicket stand before the team fell apart against Gujarat Lions' pacer Andrew Tye's magical spell of 5/17, including a hat-trick in the final over.

Not out of it despite the stutter, considering the depth in their batting, MI needed patience. Quiet to start with, the Man of the Match let the bowlers have it later. "Tomorrow, being a day game, really matters because the wicket plays much better under lights than during the day time". "You make everyday seem like one for me", he said.

Bangalore lost both games, and in truth, they were not even close. Sourav Ganguly, who he axed from the national team's one-day worldwide side almost a decade ago, has questioned his credentials as a Twenty20 player in his role as a media pundit, and his fans have been restricted to howls of outrage - against perceived slights - rather than sustained applause. As for the good, sharp singles that generally mount pressure on the fielders, they were non-existent. Chris is hitting the ball well in the nets and he's due for a score too. Slower bowlers are likely to get some help from the pitch.

Pollard said of his partner: "Krunal came in and showed his maturity too". Conciliatory moves have been made by both Smith and Kohli since then but there is no denying that it's going to be a grudge battle for the two sides. It was what they were waiting for. While RPS would do well to get him up the order and give him time to create an innings, once he get the chance, he could be unstoppable. "Last game was a scenario where AB (de Villiers) came in, Watto (Watson) came in and other two guys were bowling well".

His 19 off 21 balls in death overs couldn't save the blushes of his team as RCB could only post a modest 142 for five in their last match. In the end, that proved RCB's undoing.

Vanessa Coleman