Rajasthan Royals survived a late scare to register only their second win in the 2019 VIVO IPL, with a four-wicket victory over Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium on Saturday evening. Coming from the agonizing last-ball defeat to Chennai Super Kings in their previous contest, RR elected to field and would have been happy to have seen MI post 187/5, a total under 200 at a small Wankhede ground, and chased it down with three balls to spare.
Jos Buttler starred for the Royals with the bat as his 43-ball 89 at the top of the order set the tone for a big run chase, as well as a rollicking Powerplay which saw Buttler and Ajinkya Rahane (37 from 21 balls) raid 59 runs in the first six overs. Buttler and Sanju Samson (31 from 26 balls) added 87 for the second wicket thereafter, but both their dismissals sparked panic in the RR run chase. The Royals lost four wickets for just four runs in that duration, but Shreyas Gopal finished it off for the visitors with a timely boundary off Hardik Pandya.
Earlier, Mumbai Indians were bolstered by the return of their regular captain Rohit Sharma, who, along with Quinton de Kock, got their team off to a flier adding 96 for the opening wicket, before Rohit for a well-made 47 from 22 balls. De Kock continued his stellar touch with the bat, but the hosts lost wickets at regular intervals thereafter, including that of Kieron Pollard, who made 6. MI had lost their way in the death overs until Hardik Pandya’s 11-ball 28* lifted them to 187, even though it was below part on a typical Wankhede belter.
Standout batting performance
Jos Buttler began the VIVO IPL 2019 with what looked to be match-winning knock, but his Mankading on that occasion took the wind out of his performances in the few games that followed. Against Mumbai Indians on Saturday, however, Buttler grew in confidence in the middle, and unleashed a fierce array of strokes towards the latter half of his innings to hasten RR's run chase. Despite losing Ajinkya Rahane at the other end after a superb partnership, Buttler carried on in the company of Samson, and took Alzarri Joseph apart in the 13th over of the RR chase, as he scored 644446, totaling 28 off the over. The asking rate shot down dramatically after that, which enabled RR to recover from a mini-collapse they suffered towards the end. In all, Buttler struck 8 fours and 7 towering sixes, which included that assault on Joseph, who had just secured the best figures in VIVO IPL history two games ago.
Quinton de Kock has been in superb touch at the top of the order for Mumbai Indians, but a big score has eluded the stylish left-hander, which the batsman corrected somewhat in his 52-ball stay at the crease, which fetched him 82 runs. With 6 fours and 4 sixes, de Kock was destructive at the start of the MI innings, being the dominant partner with Rohit Sharma at the other end as the duo took heavy toll on the RR bowlers. De Kock was particularly severe on off-spinner K Gautam that led to a fiery start from the home team, but the sapping conditions at the Wankhede meant de Kock had slowed down towards the backend of the innings, even though his contribution was worth its weight in gold for the MI total.
Notable Support Act - Batting
Rohit Sharma returned at the top of the Mumbai Indians batting order, and began to express himself with an array of drives through the cover and point region. Even though he wasn’t the aggressor in this opening stand, Rohit held his own, running hard between wickets and stroking exquisitely through the off side for a 32-ball 47, eventually holing out in the deep off Jofra Archer.
Just like Mumbai Indians got a shot in the arm through their captain at the top of the order, Ajinkya Rahane played a similar role to that of his opposite number for Rajasthan Royals in their run chase. Rahane, in fact, outscored Jos Buttler before his dismissal, after he survived an LBW call with the use of DRS. He then tore into Joseph, taking him for two fours and a six in the fifth over of the innings as the Royals raced to 60 for the opening wicket. His 37 remained the second highest score in the RR run chase, and came at a strike rate of over 175 with 6 fours and a six.
Standout bowling performance
Jofra Archer has been keeping the speed gun busy this VIVO IPL, and after pinging MS Dhoni on the helmet with a bouncer in their previous contest, Archer used the bounce of the Wankhede pitch to good effect, and walked away with figures of 3-39 from his four overs. His wickets were all of MI superstars – Rohit, who was beaten for pace, de Kock and Pollard, who was dismissed early as Archer prevented a late onslaught from the West Indian batsman like he did against Kings XI Punjab.
Jasprit Bumrah has built a reputation for himself as a death overs specialist, and the Mumbai Indians spearhead didn’t disappoint with another stellar performance with the ball, finishing with figures of 2-23 from his four overs. Tasked with bowling at the death, Bumrah was a catalyst in the Royals collapse towards the end of the innings as RR invoked memories of Delhi Capitals from a few days ago. Bumrah accounted for the wickets of Sanju Samson and Steve Smith as Mumbai Indians nearly pulled off a stunning victory. He even gave away just eight runs in the 19th over to keep Mumbai Indians in the hunt, but a dropped catch off his last ball meant Rajasthan Royals survived a late scare.
Mumbai Indians: 187-5 (Quinton de Kock 81, Rohit Sharma 47, Hardik Pandya 28*, Jofra Archer 3-39) lost to Rajasthan Royals: 188-6 in 19.3 overs (Jos Buttler 89, Ajinkya Rahane 37, Sanju Samson 31, Krunal Pandya 3-34, Jasprit Bumrah 2-23) by four wickets.
Stat of the Match:
Rajasthan Royals have beaten Mumbai Indians in all three games since their readmission in 2018.
This match was Mumbai Indians’ 200th and Rohit Sharma’s 100th as captain of the franchise.
RR’s chase of 188 is the second highest by any team against Mumbai Indians.
Man of the Match:
Jos Buttler, for his 89 off 43 balls and three catches.