IPL desk in Mumbai 20 May 2012 - 11:55pm IST
Report: Match 72 – RR v MI
Smith, Tendulkar complete 10-wicket drubbing of RR in Jaipur
The game had very little but pride at stake as MI had already made it to the top four, while RR were already out of playoff contention. The visitors looked to go into the playoffs with momentum on their side and the hosts just wanted to end the season on a high note. In the end, it was the stronger team that prevailed.
In what came across as their attempt to use the most number of opening pairs in a single tournament, the Mumbai Indians came up with yet another opening combination – Sachin Tendulkar and Dwayne Smith. The two ended up with the best opening partnership of IPL 2012 as they piled on 163 runs. The Tendulkar-Smith duo lived an extremely charmed in the middle. They kept playing wrong shots in the air and the ball kept falling short of the fielders. To double up the frustration of RR bowlers, the fielders leaked some runs on the ground as well.
When Sidharth Trivedi finally got Smith caught in the deep, it turned out to be a no-ball. Tendulkar smacked the next delivery, a free-hit, for a six to bring up MI’s 100. As the two batsmen rode their luck to the fullest, the hosts could do very little apart from grinning and bearing it.
After playing some chancy shots in the beginning, both batsmen settled down nicely and began to hit the ball well. Tendulkar scored 58* off 51 balls with the help of six fours, while Smith finished with 87* off 54 deliveries. He hit 10 fours and three sixes. MI got home with 12 balls to spare and all 10 wickets in hand.
Earlier, Rahul Dravid had called it right at the toss and elected to bat first. MI’s Dhawal Kulkarni was playing his first game of IPL 2012 and he accounted for the most successful opening pair of the season. In his first over, he dismissed Rahul Dravid (5) with a short and side delivery was edged to the ‘keeper. In his third over, he got rid of the in-form Ajinkya Rahane (13) with another short ball.
MI’s captain, however, was not that effective. Harbhajan Singh was smacked for 30 runs off his first two overs. Stuart Binny was particularly harsh on the off-spinner, creaming him for three fours and two sixes. Finally, Binny ran himself out for 30 (off 17 balls), thus ending his dangerous 53-run (36 balls) partnership with Watson.
Watson carried on for a while, before Pollard got him caught in the deep, inducing a mistimed pull shot. The Australian departed for 45 off 36 balls with four fours and two hits over the fence. Owais Shah and Ashok Menaria got sedate 20s to take RR to 162 for six in their allotted 20 overs. Kulkarni finished with figures of 4-1-18-3, while Lasith Malinga and Kieron Pollard picked up a scalp each.
The Mumbai Indians will now take on the Chennai Super Kings in the playoff eliminator in Bengaluru on May 23, 2012.
Man of the Match: Dwayne Smith for his 58-ball 87 (10x4; 3x6) that helped MI win by 10 wickets