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Cricket news - Mumbai pay for the Bangalore hangover

As soon as I went in, I spoke to KL and we said that if we get another 50-60 run partnership, we can definitely put them under the pump: Mayank Agarwal

Bumrah and Malinga were as good as fiction in Bengaluru, so to not have expected them to do it again in Mohali would be fiction too. "It should be a walk in the park for Punjab unless Bumrah does something extraordinary," stated Cricbuzz's ball-by-ball commentary, with a hint of caution, when 25 runs were needed off the last four overs. If you shrugged that off at the time, laughing at the sheer chutzpah of it, you aren't alone. And if you secretly wanted to see the Bumrah extraordinaire, ready to lay down arms just to see 'em yorkers, you aren't alone either.

That's how hungover we are on that magical bowling performance at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. But this night in Mohali was different. "In terms of bowling performance, not too many positives to be fair," Mumbai's bowling coach Shane Bond summed it up after the game. And even while praising Bumrah, he made sure he talked about how well he bowled the first couple of overs, "which he always does."

Mohali was a challenge so different to Bengaluru. The IS Bindra Stadium isn't your pocket-sized T20 ground in India that embraces the universal game plan you can carry in your pockets, hoping that your form on the day will be all that matters. Mohali demands you to have new game plans. Andrew Tye had shown earlier what needed to be done, bowling it short and slow, asking the batsmen to generate their own power and take on the long square boundaries. The pitch being at the centre of the square meant no biases too but Mumbai, spoilt by bowling on flat pitches in small grounds - when did that become a bad thing?! - were left wanting for clues.

"I think we bowled well in Bangalore game on a small ground. We didn't ask them to play great shots. We dished out too much for them and they were good enough to put them away," Bond admitted. "We were reasonably confident that 177 was a winning score if we bowled better than we did today."

It wasn't that Mumbai had their plans off all along. They were on the mark against KL Rahul, who finished unbeaten on 71 off 57 but that strike rate of 124 belies the struggle his innings looked for the large part. Or was it an innings laboured out of choice? "To be really honest, no," Mayank Agarwal was candid when asked if Rahul's decision to dig in the heels was a conscious effort. "They bowled well and they didn't give him too many loose balls, bowled tight to him.

"For us, the thought process was to play good cricketing shots. The wicket was good, the ball was coming onto the bat. We had already gotten a 50-run partnership. As soon as I went in, I spoke to KL and we said that if we get another 50-60 run partnership, we can definitely put them under the pump because we will have lots of wickets in hand and on a good wicket, we can put the pressure on them."

Mayank was the reason KL Rahul could afford to be ugly. Chris Gayle was going good when he got out, finding a boundary too long for a ball in his zone - "Krunal worked perfectly," Bond said - and Punjab at the time couldn't have two people trying to find their timing in the middle, especially when it's your first home game and you have to win it at all costs. So Mayank stepped it up, blowing to life the oft-talked camaraderie he shares with Rahul off the field. "Once we recognised that it wasn't easy for KL to go and get runs, we rallied around and that's what a good team does. We are very happy we could do that as a side," he would go on to say.

And so Rahul got off the strike with singles and Mayank laid into their spinners, Krunal Pandya and Mayank Markande -- a tactic that came back to bite Mumbai. Holding back Bumrah and Malinga at that time pointed to how Mumbai believed that Bengaluru could happen again.

It never did. When Malinga finally got hold of the ball in the 16th over, Punjab needed only 37 runs off five overs. Bumrah came on in the next over, got the length right but the lines terribly wrong. Rahul scored three boundaries off the next seven balls he faced from Bumrah, and that was it.

"We bowled too much width, too full and KL Rahul took his time and they batted around him. We know how Chris was going to play: he would try to see off Bumrah and Malinga and then he'd go after our spinners. We tried to delay it for as long as we can," Bond explained. "Mayank Agarwal played beautifully. We weren't accurate enough to him and he took the game away from us at a point where they required 10-11 runs an over required and he dragged it back to eight an over and we struggled to get back the momentum." And there was no coming back from there.

Harry Blackstone Jr, the magician son of a famous magician, once got it terribly wrong during the 1987 Superbowl halftime show at the Rose Bowl Stadium. Sporting grounds just don't seem to take kindly to second-hand magic. Mohali didn't want to be Bengaluru. Bring it something new.

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