Jos Buttler scored his fifth consecutive half-century to power the Rajasthan Royals to a seven-wicket win over the Mumbai Indians on Sunday night. In pursuit of 169 at the Wankhede Stadium, the Royals lost opener D’Arcy Short in the first over, but were put back on track by a 95-run partnership between Buttler and Ajinkya Rahane. After the latter was dismissed, Buttler carried on and completed the job; he finished undefeated on 94. The Royals got home in 18 overs.
In the first part of their chase, the Royals got to 51-1 in the powerplay, added 81-1 in the middle period, and knocked off the remaining runs in the next three overs. The one other notable contribution in the Royals’ chase came from Sanju Samson, whose 13-ball 26 contained two fours and two sixes, and helped hasten the chase.
Earlier in the evening, Suryakumar Yadav and Evin Lewis came out all guns blazing and added 51 runs in the first six overs. The MI opening pair extended their association to 87 runs for before Yadav’s mishit found the fielder at short fine-leg. The hosts lost two in two when Rohit Sharma was dismissed for a first-ball duck – the captain’s pull shot finding JaydevUnadkat at deep backward square-leg.
Lewis was dismissed a little while later – a loose drive carrying to sweeper cover; the left-hander made 60 from 42 balls, and his innings contained 4 fours and as many sixes. MI slipped briefly, losing three wickets in 3.3 overs, before Hardik Pandya’s cameo helped them past the 150-run mark. Hardik’s 21-ball 36 contained three fours and two sixes.
MI added 82 runs in the middle nine overs and an unsatisfactory 45 runs in the final five overs to eventually finish at 168-6. For the visitors, Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes took two wickets each, while Dhawal Kulkarni and JaydevUnadkat chipped in with a wicket apiece.
Standout batting performance
Jos Buttler flayed the Mumbai Indians bowlers and helped himself to his second unbeaten 90-plus score in two innings. The Englishman converted good deliveries to boundary balls, and at other times moved around in the crease and created boundary-scoring opportunities. Despite opening the innings, Buttler only got to face seven balls in the first four overs. In the fifth over, he hit the left-arm spinner Krunal Pandya for a six and four to set the ball rolling. In the following over, the younger Pandya brother – Hardik – was at the receiving end; this time a flat hit to the left of the bowler raced to the boundary.
When Buttler chose to go hard at the ball, there was one of two outcomes – it would be a four or six. He collected boundaries off pace and spin alike, and raced to his half-century off 35 balls. In the fourteenth over, the RR opener hit Hardik for a six and a four – both in the long-on region. He then meted out the same treatment to JaspritBumrah in the following over – first mowing a delivery into the midwicket boundary, and then depositing a ball into the stands at square-leg. After a brief period of quiet, he deposited a Hardik Pandya delivery into the stands at midwicket.
Apart from the crucial 95-run partnership with Rahane that laid the foundation for the chase, Buttler was also involved in a 61-run stand for the third wicket with Samson.
In the evening, the MI opener Evin Lewis opened his account with a fluent drive through the off-side; he merely caressed the ball into the gap, and the ball sped away to the boundary. The left-hander, who was dropped by Stuart Binny on 5, reined himself in briefly, with his opening partner finding the boundary regularly. In the ninth over, Lewis hit the leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal for consecutive sixes – one through square-leg and the second through extra cover – and raced ahead of his opening partner.
The left-hander brought up his half-century in style, hitting the off-spinner K Gowtham into the sightscreen; he needed 37 balls to get to the milestone. Lewis collected a fourth six – a hit straight back over the bowler Dhawal Kulkarni’s head, before he threw his bat at one angled away and holed out to deep point.
Notable Support Act – Batting
Hardik Pandya walked out to bat in the fourteenth over, collected a boundary early and settled down to bat until the end. It was only in the nineteenth over that he stepped on the accelerator; he smashed JaydevUnadkat for two sixes (first over long-on and then over extra cover) and a four. Hardik scored another boundary in the final over – this time a paddle off Ben Stokes, before a spectacular catch by Sanju Samson ended his stay at the crease. Hardik made 36 from 21 balls.
Suryakumar Yadav made an important contribution at the top for MI; the 27-year old set the early pace collecting two boundaries in the first over and one more in the next over. Yadav, given a reprieve when on 9, collected four more boundaries – two each off Unadkat and Dhawal Kulkarni – before a mishit carried to fine-leg; Yadav made 38 from 31 balls.
For the Rajasthan Royals, Ajinkya Rahane made an important contribution. It wasn’t the RR captain’s most fluent innings, but an important one nonetheless. He opened his account in style – driving the ball through the off-side to collect a boundary, but thereafter played very conservatively, either rotating the strike or cashing in on the bowlers mistakes. He collected two boundaries through fine-leg and on one occasion sliced away a wide delivery from Hardik to the third man boundary. Rahane made 37 from 36 balls, before he holed out to deep mid-off.
Standout bowling performance
Jofra Archer bowled a good number of deliveries over the speed of 140kph; two of those – well-directed short-pitched deliveries, resulted in the dismissals of Yadav and Rohit Sharma. His four-over spell contained 14 dot balls and he would be the only bowler in the match to not concede a single boundary. Archer’s eventual figures: 4-0-16-2.
Stat of the Match
Jos Buttlerbecame only the second batsman in the IPL to make50s in five consecutive innings; Virender Sehwag, in 2012, was the first player to achieve this feat.
Mumbai Indians 168-6 (Suryakumar Yadav 38, Evin Lewis 60, Hardik Pandya 36, Jofra Archer 2-16) lost toRajasthan Royals 171-3 in 18.0 Overs (Jos Buttler 94*, Ajinkya Rahane 37, Sanju Samson 26) by 7 wickets.
Man of the Match:
Jos Buttler, for match-winning 94 not out.