Mumbai thrash Punjab, Bangalore beat Kolkata

The Mumbai Indians swept to a resounding eight-wicket victory over Kings XI Punjab and the Bangalore Royal Challengers defeated the Kolkata Knight Riders by six wickets in the Indian Premier
League on Tuesday.

The results leaves Mumbai fourth in the eight team tournament with 11 points and in the final qualification spot for the semifinals.

Bangalore and Punjab both have 10 points and lie sixth and seventh, respectively, while Kolkata is rooted to the bottom of the standings with just one win and three points from its 10 matches.

In the match at Centurion Park, New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor struck an unbeaten 81 to lead Bangalore to 176-4 in response to Kolkata’s 173-4.

Kolkata captain Brendon McCullum had earlier played a superb innings of 84 not out in a stylish return to form and when Bangalore slumped to 74-3 and then 122-4, it appeared Kolkata were likely to capture only their second win of the series.

But Taylor won the battle of the Kiwis over McCullum with an attacking batting display, capitalising on some wayward Kolkata bowling especially from seamers Ishant Sharma and Ajit Agarkar to steer Bangalore home.

“It’s nice to make runs but it breaks my heart when the team loses and today was not different,” said McCullum. “We had the game in the bag for most of it until Ross took it away from us.”

Mumbai restricted Punjab to 119-9 in their allotted 20 overs, with part-time offspinner J.P. Duminy taking 2-15 in four overs and man-of-the-match Harbhajan Singh claiming 1-9 from his four.

Coaching consultant Shaun Pollock singled out his team’s fielding for special praise, attributing it to the work of fielding coach Jonty Rhodes, his former South Africa teammate.

In chasing down the total, Dwayne Bravo hit an unbeaten 70 and captain Sachin Tendulkar 41 not out to complete a thumping win for one of the tournament’s favorites.

The West Indies allrounder knocked seven boundaries and three sixes in 59 balls while Tendulkar, batting down the order at number four, cracked four boundaries and a six in 29 balls.

With a balanced-side that is strong in all facets of the game, Mumbai are now one of the teams tipped to go all the way in the 2009 IPL series.
- Sapa-AP

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