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Mumbai Indians' Jasprit Bumrah celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of Royal Challengers Bengaluru's Virat Kohli. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: Winning is a habit and similarly losing is also infectious that will lead to a rot. Five-time Indian Premier League (IPL) champions Mumbai Indians have been a dominant force in the past, but over the last couple of seasons, they were not able to play their own brand of authoritative cricket.

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A change of guard, bringing the talented and proven leader Hardik Pandya to lead the Mumbai side for Season 17, didn’t yield the desired results and the fans vented their anger on the new captain. Mumbai are traditionally slow starters and after three successive loses, the MIPaltans squeezed out a 29-run win in a high-scoring game. Still the mojo was missing in that win but after winning the first points of the season more out of Delhi’s errors than their own brilliance.

Belief in their abilities 

Nevertheless, the win brought the self-belief back among the war veterans, that also coincided with the return of world’s top Twenty20 plaayer Suryakumar Yadav back in action after a lengthy layoff due to ankle injury and a sports hernia operation. Against Royal Challengers Bengaluru, they came out all guns blazing with a clinical victory on the back of two dominating performances — Jasprit Bumrah and Suryakumar Yadav.

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Jasprit Bumrah was at his imperious best, slicing through the rivals' batting with a five-wicket haul. Image Credit: AFP

The Indian pace ace showed his readiness for the Twenty20 World Cup by decimating the Royal Challengers, who still went on to make a challenging 196 in 20 overs. After Ishan Kishan gave a quick-fire start, Suryakumar Yadav, who got out for a duck in the previous game, showed why he is such a dangerous player in Twenty20 format by racing to a 19-ball 52. He falling short of equalling the record fastest half-century by just one delivery.

“Chasing (around) 200 at the Wankhede, it’s important to know if there is any dew factor,” Suryakumar said after Mumbai cruised to a seven-wicket victory with 27 balls to spare.

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“If it is, you got to take your chances and that’s what we did today.

“When we passed the 10th over, the game was all set by Ishan and Rohit. We knew we had to finish early for that net run-rate thing.”

Suryakumar’s display of unorthodox shotmaking included a scoop from outside the off-stump that raced to the fine leg boundary and a sliced six off Reece Topley over deep point.

“I practise these shots a lot, it’s in my muscle memory now,” he said.

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Suryakumar Yadav feasted on the Bengaluru bowling to cart them to all parts of the ground in his quick-fire half-century. Image Credit: AFP

Bumrah’s sublime bowling saw him named player of the match for his five for 21 in four overs that included the prize wicket of in-form Virat Kohli, who is currently holding the Orange Cap for the highest run-scorer this season, and Suryakumar is happy they are on the same side.

Bigger test against Chennai

“It’s been two to three years that I’ve never batted against Jasprit in the nets,” Suryakumar said of his Mumbai and India teammate. “Either he breaks my bat, or my foot.”

With the World Cup around the corner, the Indian cricket fans must be hoping it is the bat that breaks and not the foot that has just healed.

The second win must have also eased the pressure on Pandya as the fans now must be backing their new captain to take them to their sixth title. It is still long road ahead and Mumbai Indians will be facing a bigger test against another most successful team in IPL history, five-time champions Chennai Super Kings, at home on Sunday.

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Virat Kohli has been the top-scorer this season for Bengaluru, but the team's fortunes seemed to be the same. Image Credit: AFP

The team wears a settled look with almost all of the players having one or two good performances in the five matches so far, which gives them the depth, instead of relying on one or two players through the season, a bane that has afflicted Bengaluru, who bank heavily on individual brilliances, over the years.

Name change doesn't bring different luck

While the fortunes are changing for Mumbai, Royal Challengers fans once again must be left wondering about the fate of their team after fourth straight loss. They must have hoped that the change to the name at least brings some luck. Be it Bangalore or Bengaluru, the result seems to be the same as the team suffered a similar thrashing that they received from Mumbai in 2021.

Mumbai scored a resounding six-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore three years ago, when the Blue and Gold jerseys were in full steam. Chasing 200, Mumbai rode on Suryakumar Yadav’s 35-ball 83, ably supported by young Nehal Wadhera’s unbeaten 34-ball 52, to chase down the target in 16.3 overs.

A similar win, in fact a better one after reaching the target in 15.3 overs, only highlights that the champions are back in their groove, rivals beware.

— With inputs from agencies