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A spirited performance by Karun Nair (73* off 50 balls) helped the Rajasthan Royals beat the Delhi Daredevils at Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium. During their chase of 153, the youngster stayed in the middle throughout the run-chase and eventually struck the winning runs with nine balls to spare.
Earlier, Shane Watson chose to field first after winning the toss. Meanwhile, for DD, Quinton de Kock and Murali Vijay opened the innings. The pair started out fluently and punished any loose offerings from the RR bowlers. However, Vijay (13) departed in the fifth over with the score on 33. The Daredevils skipper, Kevin Pietersen, walked in next. He was, however, lucky to get a second life – thanks to a bungled run-out call – in the seventh over while he was on three. But fortunately for RR, Pietersen (14) did not stick around to make a big score; he was caught by Steve Smith off the bowling of Pravin Tambe. And three deliveries later, the leg-spinner got rid of the well-set de Kock (43).
With DD on 71 for three, Dinesh Karthik and JP Duminy joined forces. But their liaison did not last long as Faulkner got rid of Karthik (12) in the 16th over. However, Duminy (39) rallied on till the final over, along with Kedar Jadhav (28*), whose 14-ball cameo propelled DD past 150. While Duminy was dismissed by Kane Richardson, Jadhav remained unbeaten till the end as the Daredevils notched up 152 for five in 20 overs. For RR, Tambe (4-0-25-2) and Faulkner (4-0-26-2) were the top wicket-takers.
In response, the Royals opened their innings with Ajinkya Rahane (12) and Karun Nair. But barely three overs into the run-chase, the diminutive opener was dismissed by Wayne Parnell. Sanju Samson (34) then walked in at No.3 and struck up an innings-steadying partnership with Nair. The pair added 51 runs for the second wicket, before Karthik stumped him off the bowling of Shahbaz Nadeem. Nair, however, was in sublime form and he continued to lead RR’s charge along with Rajat Bhatia. His onslaught continued even as Bhatia (17) got out in the 15th over.
At that point, RR were 115 for three and Watson (16*) took strike in place of Bhatia. He played the supporting role as Nair compiled a well-deserved half-century while helping his team inch towards the target. The duo eventually took RR across the line with an unbeaten 41-run stand. Nair’s 50-ball stay at the crease produced 73 runs, of which 44 came from fours and sixes. In fact, the 22-year-old Karnataka batsman even dispatch the ball to the fence to clock in the winning runs with nine balls to spare in the innings.
Man of the Match: Karun Nair for his match-winning half-century
Winless in their five games in the UAE, the Mumbai Indians finally got two points on the board. Playing their first home match of the season, the Rohit Sharma-led side registered a five-wicket win over table-toppers Kings XI Punjab. After conceding 168 runs to KXIP, MI’s chase was fuelled by the late-innings heroics of Kieron Pollard and Aditya Tare, who took their team home with five balls to spare.
Earlier, George Bailey won the toss and decided to bat first at Wankhede Stadium. Cheteshwar Pujara and Virender Sehwag opened the innings for KXIP. However, Sehwag (1) did not last long as he was run-out courtesy a sharp piece of fielding by Rohit Sharma. And while Pujara (19) got off to a decent start, he could not convert it into a big score and fell prey to Corey Anderson in the fourth over. Thanks to the pressure created by these early wickets, MI were able to hold KXIP down to 36 for two at the end of the powerplay. Wriddhiman Saha and Glenn Maxwell then took their team past the 50-run mark in the eighth over.
The duo kept chipping away at the MI bowlers with Maxwell (45) doing bulk of the scoring. The Australian batsman – who is currently perched atop the run-scorers list in Pepsi IPL 2014 – struck five fours and two maximums during his 27-ball stay in the middle. He was, however, dismissed by Harbhajan Singh in the 12th over. Then, Bailey (15) walked in with the scorecard reading 93 for three. He added 37 runs for the fourth wicket, with Saha, before succumbing to Harbhajan Singh.
However, David Miller came in to bat next and ably supported the well-set Saha, who reached his half-century in the 19th over. Zaheer Khan, meanwhile, clutched his shoulder in the same over and had to leave the ground after bowling just three deliveries; Pollard filled in for him for the remainder of the over. However, that did not bode well for MI as he was greeted by a Miller maximum first up as KXIP breached the 160-run mark. But Malinga bowled a great last over in which he conceded only three runs and picked up the wicket of Miller (16). Saha (59*) remained unbeaten along with Mitchell Johnson (0*) to take KXIP to 168 for five after 20 overs.
In response, MI lost Ben Dunk (5) early; Sandeep Sharma had him caught behind in the first over. CM Gautam was then joined by Ambati Rayudu (8), who also did not last long; Sandeep Sharma trapped him leg-before with the scorecard reading 23 for two in 2.5 overs. MI skipper Rohit Sharma was the next man in, and along with Gautam, he took MI to 49 for two at the end of the powerplay. The duo stitched together 46 runs off 41 balls for the third wicket. However, with the score on 70, Rishi Dhawan trapped Gautam (33) leg-before.
Rohit Sharma was then joined by the hard-hitting Corey Anderson. Both batsmen, especially Anderson, began to go after the KXIP bowlers and brought up the team’s 100 in the 13th over of the innings. But the target was still some ways off, and at one point MI required 51 off 30 balls. And just a short while later, when it seemed like Rohit Sharma (39) had set himself up to take his team home, Lakshmipathy Balaji got the better of him. He was replaced by another hard-hitter, Kieron Pollard. However, just three runs later, Dhawan got rid of Anderson (35) to further dent MI’s run-chase.
Pollard and Aditya Tare were then tasked with the responsibility of chasing down a target that seemed to be slipping away from MI with every passing delivery. But the pair did not give in to the pressure, and with the run-chase equation reading 41 off 18 balls, they plundered 16 runs from the 18th over. And then, off the next over, which was bowled by Mitchell Johnson, Pollard – aided by some big hits and the odd stroke of luck – helped plunder 20 runs. The run-chase equation dipped dramatically to five off six balls, and Pollard (28*) knocked the required runs off with a maximum off the very first delivery of the 20th over. Tare (16*), meanwhile, played a crucial supporting role and remained unbeaten as MI won by five wickets.
Man of the Match: Corey Anderson for his all-round performance