Mumbai crowned as RCB miss out again

Mumbai Indians were crowned the best Twenty20 franchise in the world after beating Bangalore Royal Challengers by 31 runs in Sunday’s Champions League Twenty20 final in Chennai.

It was another disappointment for nearly-men Bangalore, who were runners-up in the 2009 Indian Premier League and have often been there or thereabouts in both competitions without ever claiming any silverware.

Mumbai lifted the trophy despite going into the tournament with a string of injuries – including to their regular captain and talisman Sachin Tendulkar – although they were also helped by the fact that the ‘four foreigners’ rule was bent as a result of those injuries, as the Indians were allowed to field five foreign players in the group stage.

Some shambolic running between the wickets and misguided hitting had seen Mumbai bowled out for 139, which didn’t look as if it would be enough – particularly when Bangalore romped to 38 without loss in the opening four overs of their reply.

However Tillakaratne Dilshan (27) was bowled by his countryman Lasith Malinga and Chris Gayle was out to a questionable lbw decision, and the middle order was unable to chase a fairly basic total.

Gayle’s dismissal arguably changed the course of the match, with Kumar Dharmasena raising the finger despite Gayle getting a good stride in and being struck on the front pad on or around the line of off stump by offspinner Harbhajan Singh.

Harbhajan, who captained the side throughout the tournament in the absence of Tendulkar, appeared to stage something of a return to form in the match as he also claimed the wickets of Virat Kohli and Daniel Vettori and conceded just 20 runs in his four overs.

Kohli’s dismissal in the 12th over left Bangalore on 73 for four, and their middle order’s lack of quality was exposed on an increasingly sluggish pitch, as no-one made more than 17 or had a strike rate better than a run a ball.

As the dot balls piled up, the fate of the match became clear and Bangalore were eventually

Mumbai had won a useful toss on decent track at the Chepauk, but failed to make full use of it largely because the batsmen who got themselves in were run out in farcical fashion.

Aiden Blizzard, whose half-century had helped the Indians reach the final, was the first to go when he and fellow opener Sarul Kanwar both wound up at the non-striker’s end after Kanwar failed to respond to a request for a single.

The Indian batsman didn’t last much longer himself, as he had his stumps rearranged by a Dirk Nannes yorker to leave Mumbai on 24 for two.

Ambati Rayudu (22) and James Franklin (41) rebuilt the innings with a 41-run partnership, and Franklin added a further 40 with Suryakumar Yadav before disaster struck.

Both bastmen were going well, but Yadav was caught backing up too far and run out by Daniel Vettori after Franklin had driven the ball straight back to the bowler, before Franklin perished in a mix-up with Kieron Pollard.

The big West Indian failed to atone for that sin, as he holed out tamely in the next over, and with Harbhajan Singh also out cheaply Mumbai had lost four wickets for four runs.

Lasith Malinga hit a pair of sixes, but it wasn’t enough to drag Mumbai to a decent total as they lost their last wicket off the final ball of the innings.

Nevertheless that proved enough as the surface slowed up and Bangalore’s batsmen froze.


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