The Mumbai Indians have given themselves a real hope of qualifying for the playoffs, whilst Royal Challengers Bangalore are almost out of contention after Wednesday's latest instalment of the IPL.
Kiwis dismiss the dangerous opening pair
Mumbai's Rohit Sharma won the toss and put RCB into bat and it looked to be the correct decision after the New Zealand duo of Mitchell McClenaghan and Tim Southee dismissed the dangerous opening pair of Virat Kohli and Chris Gayle to leave the score 17-2. Both batsmen would have been disappointed to have got caught out off short deliveries.
AB De Villiers set about a reparation job with Lokesh Rahul but they struggled to find the boundary and found themselves striking at just a run a ball when the South African was dismissed for 24 at the midway point by another short delivery from Krunal Pandya.
The aggressive Shane Watson came to the crease but Rahul was the man who took the innings by the scruff of its neck as he began to negotiate the rope. Watson was eventually run out for 15, though it allowed Sachin Baby to produce a cameo performance of 25 runs from 13 deliveries. Rahul was the saviour as he blasted three fours and four sixes in his 68 from 53 to help RCB to a modest 151-4 at a ground which always favours the batsmen.
Pollard and Buttler blast their way to victory
Mumbai's response was in danger of going the same way as their opponents' when Parthiv Patel was dismissed for just one by a short Sreenath Aravind delivery after seven balls of the innings, just as Kohli had done two hours previously. Rohit Sharma and Ambati Rayudu were able to recover as they took Mumbai past the required run rate in what looked a relatively comfortable chase.
Varun Aaron took the wicket of Sharma for 25 as another short delivery was mishit in the air by the Mumbai skipper. Ntish Rana and Rayudu did not hang around much longer as they fell for nine and 44 respectively to two excellent catches by Stuart Binny and De Villiers off the bowling of Yuzvendra Chahal and Aaron as RCB gave themselves hope.
The wickets turned the tide as Mumbai were left requiring 54 runs from 29 deliveries. Yet if you would choose two players from world cricket to hunt down those runs, Jos Buttler and Kieron Pollard would certainly be on the shortlist. The pair blasted nine boundaries, including five sixes, between them as they took Mumbai over the line with eight deliveries to spare.
The result moves Mumbai into fourth, although Delhi Daredevils have two games in hand. RCB are now four points away from contention with only four games remaining in their quest for the playoffs.