The Mumbai Indians pulled off a 25-run away win against the Rajasthan Royals in Ahmedabad. As a result of the two points earned form this game, the Rohit Sharma-led side – which has eight points from 11 matches – still has a chance to make the Playoffs.
Earlier, Rohit Sharma won the toss and elected to bat first and Michael Hussey and Lendl Simmons gave the visitors a great start. After cautiously adding 42 runs in the powerplay, both batters got their eye in and went after the RR bowlers. At the halfway stage, the duo had taken MI to 76 for no loss. Then in the 12th over of the innings, Hussey brought up his half-century. Simmons then hit a six in the next over to clock in his second fifty of the season and to take his team’s score into triple digits.
The pair went from strength to strength as they not only denied RR any breakthroughs, but they also piled on the runs during their 120-run stand. But finally, Ankit Sharma dismissed both openers within the space of four deliveries, in the 15th over; the RR spinner first got rid of Simmons (62) as he was going for a big one, before seeing the back of Hussey (56).
However, there was not much respite for the RR bowlers as Kieron Pollard and Rohit Sharma joined forces after these dismissals. While Pollard (14*), who struck a maximum during his unbeaten knock, played the support cast, it was the MI skipper who took the opposition bowlers to the cleaners. During his 19-ball knock – which ended with his run-out off the last ball of the innings – Rohit Sharma (40) hit three fours and four sixes. Thanks to the 56-run (off 30 balls) third-wicket stand, MI ended up at 178 for three after 20 overs.
In response, RR opened their innings with Karun Nair and Unmukt Chand (2). However, the latter could not stick around too long; Pragyan Ojha got rid of him in the third over, leaving RR on 17 for one. And while Nair looked on song, he did not get much support from his skipper, Shane Watson (5) – who also fell prey to Ojha. Sanju Samson (2) was soon dismissed by debutant left-arm pacer, Krishmar Santokie. MI’s next breakthrough featured what could well end up as the catch of the season; Kieron Pollard pulled off an unreal catch on the second attempt at the long-on fence to get rid of Kevon Cooper off the bowling of Harbhajan Singh.
That spectacular catch reduced RR to 61 for four in 7.4 overs. And things did not get any better for RR as they lost Ankit Sharma (4) to MI’s other debutant – 20-year-old leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal – just five runs later. Stuart Binny (2), who was stumped by Aditya Tare in the 11th over, became the young leggie’s second victim of the match. And then, Harbhajan Singh finally broke Nair’s (48) 24-ball knock, which stood out from the efforts of the rest of the RR top order.
Brad Hodge and James Faulkner (31*) then took RR past the 100-run mark. The pair struck a total of five sixes during their 41-ball 69-run stand to give RR a glimmer of hope. However, Hodge (40) holed out to Rohit Sharma off the bowling of Santokie in the 19th over. In the end, RR could only manage 153 for eight in 20 overs, handing MI a 25-run away win. For the visitors, Harbhajan Singh (4-0-13-2) and Gopal (4-0-25-2) played a vital role in ensuring RR stayed behind the asking rate throughout their innings.
Man of the Match:Michael Hussey for his 39-ball 56-run knock