Chennai, Oct 9 (IANS): Mumbai Indians turned on their spin power and beat fancied Royal Challengers Bangalore by 31 runs in the final of the Nokia Champions League T20 tournament, here on Sunday.
After restricting Mumbai Indians to 139 built around a fighting 41 by James Frankling, RCB, who had successfully chased 200-plus targets in two consecutive matches coming into the final, struggled on a slow pitch that afforded turn and fell to 108 in a very disappointing batting performance.
Mumbai Indians, without half-a-dozen key players owing into injury, including Sachin Tendulkar, went home richer by $2.5 million while RCB received $1.3 million.
Spearheading the Mumbai victory was skipper and off-spinner Harbhajan Singh who came away with 3 for 20 and young leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal (2 for 9 in three overs) while seamers Lasith Malinga (2 for 23), Abu Nechim (2 for 26) and Kieron Pollard picked up timely wickets to complete a fine win.
Yet, Mumbai Indians bowling was anything but disciplined as they sent down 14 wides and a no-ball as Mr Extras contributed 20 runs.
The RCB chase began on a typical note with a flurry of boundaries off Tillkaratne Dilshan's bat while the other opener Chris Gayle barely got a look in. The pair put on 38 runs in four overs.
Skipper Harbhajan Singh opted to bowl Lasith Malinga a third over and the move paid off as the Sri Lankan ace knocked back Dilshan's off-stump to draw first blood. Harbhajan brought himself on for the next over and trapped a tentative Gayle in front.
The struggles for RCB began soon as the slow pitch that offered a bit of turn seemed to suit the Mumbai bowlers who gave little away. In fact, the RCB batsmen appeared ill at ease when the spinners were introduced and sure enough, they lost Mayank Agarwal, Virat Kohli and Arun Karthik in quick succession.
Agarwal holed out to Pollard in the deep off leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal and then an impatient Kohli gifted his wicket to Harbhajan, attempting a slog-sweep and caught at mid-wicket. RCB slid deeper into the quick sand when in the next over, Karthik departed, caught in the deep off Chahal.
Thus, going into the final six overs, RCB needed 63 runs and the mounting pressure told on the batsmen as wickets continued to fall at regular intervals as Mumbai eventually ran out deserving winners.
Earlier, Mumbai batsmen too struggled to get going. It was left-arm spinner and skipper Daniel Vettori (2 for 30) and seamer Raju Bhatkal (3 for 21) who did the bulk of damage after an early strike by new ball bowler Dirk Nannes who was quick and hostile.
Barring Franklin, there was hardly any worthwhile effort from the other batsmen, a couple of whom threw away good starts.
As such, Mumbai Indians were left to wonder what might have been as they wasted all the hard work through some sloppy batting that led to as many as three run outs and a few soft dismissals just when they were looking to accelerate.
At the top of the order, opener Aiden Blizzard was needlessly run out with his partner Sarul Kanwar ball watching rather than responding to a call for a single that was very much on. Both the openers were caught at the non-striker's end, leading to Blizzard's dismissal.
A while later, Kanwar was bowled by Nannes before Mumbai staged a brief recovery through Ambatti Rayudu (22) and Franklin, but they suffered a series of setbacks that weighed down
Just when the Mumbai innings seemed to stabilize, they lost a bunch of wickets as Rayudu flat-batted seamer Raju Bhatkal to Gayle at covers, Yadav caught short of the crease backing up as was Franklin attempting a second run.
Then came a double strike by Vettori as he removed Kieron Pollard (2) and Harbhajan (0) in three deliveries to leave Mumbai in tatters at 109 for seven in the 17th over.
The Mumbai innings continued to crumble as Bhatkal also struck twice in the 19th over after a couple of sixes by Malinga and Sathish to boost the total, but eventually, they were bundled out 139, a total that seemed well within the reach of the big hitting Bangalore boys, but it wasn't as it turned out to be.