The Rajasthan Royals made it 2-0 against the Mumbai Indians in VIVO IPL 2019, after they registered a five-wicket win to add to their 4-wicket win in Mumbai earlier in the season. After Steve Smith – who was named RR captain hours prior to the match – won the toss and decided to field at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium, the Royals bowlers restricted MI to 161-5. In the second half, Smith anchored the chase with a busy half-century and steered his team past the finish line in the final over.
The Royals got off to a brisk start with Ajinkya Rahane and new opening partner Sanju Samson adding 39 runs in 3.4 overs. After Rahane was dismissed, Smith and Samson continued to score freely and added 37 runs in the next 3.4 overs. After the hosts lost Samson and Ben Stokes in the space of four deliveries, the innings was put back on track through a 70-run partnership between captain Smith and Riyan Parag. Yet again, when the Royals lost two wickets in quick succession – Riyan Parag was run out, and Ashton Turner was trapped LBW first ball, one wondered if they were going to snatch defeat yet again. But Smith, in the company of Stuart Binny, got the job was done. The Royals now have three wins from nine matches this season.
For the Mumbai Indians, Rahul Chahar picked up three wickets to be the most successful bowler, while Jasprit Bumrah was miserly yet again, conceding only 21 runs in his four overs.
After being put into bat in the evening, the only batsman in the Mumbai Indians top order who came to terms with the surface was the opener Quinton de Kock; the left-hander cashed in on his good form, scoring his third half-century of the season. After he was dismissed in the fifteenth over, MI’s middle order once again came to the rescue; Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard and Ben Cutting together scored 46 runs from 31 balls to take their team past the 150-run mark. Cutting ensured the innings ended on a high; he hit a six off the last ball of the innings to ensure the momentum was with his team as both teams made their way off the field.
For the Rajasthan Royals, Shreyas Gopal (2-21) was the standout bowler, while Stuart Binny, Jofra Archer and Jaydev Unadkat all chipped in with a wicket each. While Archer was impressive with the ball, he had a poor day on the field – dropping as many as three catches in the match.
Standout batting performance
Steve Smith once again illustrated that T20 is not all about slam bang cricket. The Australian, a picture of calm at the crease, actually constructed an innings and took his team across the line. He was busy at the crease – running several ones and twos, but also took toll of the bad ball when it was presented to him. Smith collected the majority of his runs through point and midwicket; he hit five boundaries and a six and finished unbeaten on 59 from 48 balls.
At least early on when MI were batting, Quinton de Kock was the only batsman who appeared to have come to terms with the conditions. After three quiet overs, the left-hander accelerated suddenly, collecting a flurry of boundaries; he hit Dhawal Kulkarni for three consecutive boundaries (straight down the ground, through point and through fine-leg) and a six (pulled over square-leg). There was no stopping him once the shackles were broken; de Kock continued to find the boundary regularly and brought up his half-century at the end of the tenth over – getting there in 34 balls. He was dismissed for 65 in the fifteenth over when he attempted to hit the leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal out of the ground, but only hit it down the throat of Ben Stokes.
Notable Support Act – Batting
There were two other important contributions in the Royals’ chase. Sanju Samson, who set the pace early on, looked good during his 35; the wicketkeeper-batsman effortlessly scored runs – collecting five boundaries and a six in his 19-ball outing.
It was a bit of a surprise when 17-year old Riyan Parag was sent to bat at number five. The youngster opened his account with a boundary, which only emboldened to play aggressively; he continued to play his shots – even if a few of them didn’t come off – and collected five fours and a six in his 29-ball 43. Credit to the teenager for being the dominant partner and taking the pressure off his captain in their 70-run association.
Standout bowling performance
Jofra Archer and Shreyas Gopal have been the Rajasthan Royals’ standout bowlers all season, and they were on the job yet again on Saturday. Archer, despite bowling four difficult overs – one in the powerplay and three in the death – finished with figures of 4-0-22-1; he bowled 14 dot balls and dismissed the dangerous Hardik Pandya with a perfect inswinging yorker.
Shreyas was introduced into the attack in the third over; after conceding a boundary second ball, he struck with his third ball when he deceived a charging Rohit Sharma with a googly and held onto a return catch that ballooned off the inside edge. The leg-spinner added one more wicket to his tally; he dismissed de Kock in his final over and finished with outstanding figures of 4-0-21-2.
The Mumbai Indians leg-spinner Rahul Chahar began poorly, conceding boundaries off his first two deliveries, but eventually finished with the best figures in the match – 3 for 29. He dismissed Rahane first, caught at cover, then had Sanju Samson caught at long-on, and in the same over also picked up the wicket of Ben Stokes.
Rajasthan Royals: 162-5 in 19.1 Overs (Sanju Samson 35, Steve Smith 59*, Riyan Parag 43, Rahul Chahar 3-29) defeated Mumbai Indians: 161-5 (Quinton de Kock 65, Suryakumar Yadav 34, Shreyas Gopal 2-21) by 5 wickets.
Stat of the Match
The Rajasthan Royals have done the home and away double over the Mumbai Indians in the last two seasons. In each of the four matches, they’ve chased down the target.
Man of the Match
Steve Smith, for his unbeaten 59.