Royal Challengers Bangalore picked up a second consecutive victory in IPL 7, with their bowlers coming up trumps yet again, knocking out the much-vaunted Mumbai Indians batting lineup to setup a comfortable win.
Choosing to field first, RCB bowled to great effect, picking up wickets consistently, with leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal impressing again, as the Mumbai Indians limped to just 115 for nine in their 20 overs.
There were a few eyebrow-raising moments in the chase, with Kohli actually getting out without scoring a run - unbelievable that! - as Zaheer Khan (two for 21) and Lasith Malinga gave MI a glimmer of hope, consigning Chris Gayle-less RCB to a precarious 17 for three.
However, this RCB batting lineup has one more monster batsman other than Kohli and Gayle - Ab De Villiers. The South African wonder, who scored an unbeaten 45 (48b, 3x4, 1x6) was his usual busy quality self, while showing a calm head, with Parthiv Patel (57, 45b, 7x4) also chipping in with valuable runs, before going nuts towards the end, as RCB, thanks to the 99-run partnership in 13.4 overs, eased to an eventually cruise-mode seven-wicket victory, finishing on 116 for three in 17.3 overs.
The Mumbai Indians needed early wickets to stand any chance of making a game of it against this envious RCB batting lineup. It took them the best part of three overs to get the first wicket, with Lasith Malinga spearing in that trademark yorker to send Nic Maddinson's (12, 8b, 2x4) stumps cartwheeling.
The next over was golden for MI, and it came from an oldie, with Zaheer Khan coming back to haunt his former side.
The left-armer first picked the priceless wicket of Virat Kohli, who edged one to Harbhajan Singh in the slips in just his second ball. Yuvraj Singh was lucky not to walk back for a golden duck, as he heaved a sigh of relief after watching Aditya Tare drop a simple catch.
However, that feeling of relief did not last long as Zaheer with a nice in-swinger trapped the left-hander in front of the stumps next ball to put RCB on 17 for three.
Another wicket of AB De Villiers and Mumbai would have fancied themselves for the win, but the unflappable South African steadied the RCB ship wonderfully well with Parthiv Patel hanging around crucially at the other end.
With the required run rate under six to begin with and never jumping above seven, there was very little MI could do as long as De Villiers was at the crease, with the South African picking up the boundaries every now and then, while constantly taking the singles and twos to put the pressure back on the bowlers.
Parthiv also played his part admirably as the two batsmen refused to give their wicket away and with it easing to a comfortable enough win.
If the Mumbai Indians innings in their first match against Kolkata Knight Riders was bad, the one on Saturday was worse, much worse. At least MI were under the pressure of a sizeable total against KKR; the same could not be said here.
Michael Hussey, after a disappointing Mumbai Indians debut on Wednesday, at least got off to a start against RCB, notching a couple of boundaries, and looking capable of laying that oh-so crucial platform, albeit after being handed a life with Yuzvendra Chahal dropping a sitter.
However, a mistimed pull shot from Hussey (16, 15b, 2x4) off Albie Morkel in the fourth over fell straight to Chahal at square-leg, with the fielder this time making no mistake.
The-Aditya-Tare-opening-the-batting experiment does not seem to be working, with the wicketkeeper failing to impress yet again, falling after an 18-ball 17, holing out to Nic Maddinson in the deep off Varun Aaron (4-0-30-2).
Ambati Rayudu and Rohit Sharma, still sticking to the No.4 position, needed to put on a decent partnership to get some of that momentum turning back to their side, but Rohit played a typically Rohit shot, chipping the ball, almost like he was giving some catching practice to the deep fielder, to AB De Villiers at long-off, with Chahal picking up his first wicket of the afternoon.
MI have been criticised for giving Kieron Pollard too little overs to play with, but this time the big West Indian walked in with over ten overs to play. However, Pollard's patience lasted only two overs, again holing out in the deep while attempting a maximum, with Chahal (4-0-17-2) gleefully grabbing his second wicket.
Rayudu and Corey Anderson stayed together for five overs, putting on 31 runs, but just when they looked to put their foot on the accelerator, the wickets tumbled, with Rayudu first picking out De Villiers at wide long-off, before Mitchell Starc (two for 21) made it two wickets in two balls in the 17th over, dismissing Anderson, who could not clear Kohli at long-on.
With six wickets in the hut, the Mumbai Indians fumbled to nothingness in the final three overs, managing just 14 runs, while losing a further three wickets as RCB went into the break knowing they had a second straight win wrapped-up.