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Talking Points - Have Mumbai found a weakness in Kohli's game?

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Kartik: Why are bowlers still bowling length to Hardik? (7:51)

Shaun Tait and Murali Kartik dissect Royal Challengers' death-overs execution and Hardik Pandya's innings (7:51)

Mumbai v Kohli

There has only been one winner in this contest and it isn't who you think. Virat Kohli averages 29 against Mumbai Indians; he fares worse against only one other current IPL team. And some of that may be because of Rohit Sharma and his love of match-ups.

Data says Kohli averages 32 against left-arm quicks since IPL 2015, and that he tears into every other kind of bowling. Seriously, his next lowest average is a whopping 44, against right-arm quicks.

In Jason Behrendorff, Mumbai had an excellent left-arm fast bowler, known specifically for picking up early wickets. Since 2017, his strike-rate of 13 in T20I Powerplays is the third best among pace bowlers who have bowled at least 50 balls in this phase. And at Wankhede, he was practically showing off, getting the new ball to move both ways. First, he had a close lbw shout against Parthiv Patel by moving the ball into the left-hander. Then he followed it up with another inswinger - this time to the right-handed Kohli.

It drew the batsman forward, tempting him to play the angle, then hit the deck and changed direction, conjuring a bat and pad gap - seems even Kohli suffers those - and secured the biggest wicket in world cricket.

RCB save AB this time

Usually it's the other way around, but by ensuring they had a left-hander at the crease for large parts of their innings, Royal Challengers Bangalore saved AB de Villiers the trouble of facing a bowler who gives him a strange amount of trouble.

Before today, Krunal Pandya has dismissed the South African four times in five innings. Mumbai are the kind of side that would know details like this but they still felt compelled to delay the introduction of their left-arm spinner because they were worried of spinning balls into Parthiv Patel and Moeen Ali's hitting arcs.

Krunal was actually used for only one over in the entire game - the 15th. He got only two balls at de Villiers. That is the definition of an opportunity wasted.

An over of pure chaos

It was the second ball of the final over and Akshdeep Nath was at the non-strikers' end. De Villiers mis-hit a low full toss to long-on and sprinted down the pitch, always looking for the second run so he can get back on strike.

But his partner Nath was slow off the blocks and he probably knew that he wouldn't be able to beat the throw, especially because it was coming from a superb fielder like Kieron Pollard. So he turned down the man who was desperately resurrecting the RCB innings. A man who has 836 runs in 386 balls in the last four overs of a T20 match since 2015. Nath, meanwhile, strikes at 130 in this period.

Now, there were only four balls left in the innings, but those stats suggest de Villiers was far better suited to face them. More so because of the bowler he was facing. The South African has made 124 runs in 61 balls against Lasith Malinga - without ever being dismissed.

But Nath didn't want to sacrifice his wicket. De Villiers lost his. RCB got only two runs after that and both of them were byes.

That spell of play was poor enough that their other top-scorer, Moeen Ali, immediately admitted it could prove "costly" when he was interviewed by Star Sports between innings.

Powerplay blues

Quiz question from IPL 2019: What connects Shikhar Dhawan, Shane Watson, Sunil Narine and RCB?

Don't worry. We'll tell you. They are the only three wickets RCB have managed in eight Powerplays so far, at an ever-soaring average that now stands at 140.33.

Some of their errors at the start of Mumbai's innings were so obvious: they bowled short deliveries at Rohit and Quinton de Kock, often straying down leg, right into their hitting zones. When that didn't work, they went too full, only to be creamed through the covers. Only Yuzvendra Chahal found some sense of control, going for six runs in his only over. The rest - Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj and Navdeep Saini - were carted for 61 runs in their five.

Mumbai, on the other hand, came with a set plan. They had Behrendorff choking Kohli with fields that denied him the quick singles he so loves. And at the other end, Rohit had the luxury of choosing between Jasprit Bumrah and Malinga, who returned combined figures of 3-1-9-0. Yes, Bumrah managed to bowl a maiden in the Powerplay with de Villiers facing up.

And so despite Parthiv Patel's six and a couple of streaky boundaries to raze 19 runs off Behrendorff's third over, RCB's Powerplay score was just 45 for 1. Mumbai, in reply, raced to 67 for 0, which turned out to be pretty useful on a pitch that started turning square.

Even Hardik Pandya, whose 37 off 16 was crucial to Mumbai closing the game out, admitted it. "I'm lucky that the start which we had, which made a big difference because in the end it was not easy to hit," he said during the post-match presentation. "Hat's off to the openers the way they started. They kind of killed the game there.

"Throughout the game [the pitch had something] I just think that RCB didn't bowl pretty well in the Powerplay and that's what hurt them in the game. But we started pretty well because we have bowlers who hit the deck hard and we know exactly the areas where to bowl. That's why were were getting purchase and it was difficult for them to hit."