Mumbai Indians beat Rajasthan Royals by 25 runs

AHMEDABAD: Rajasthan Royals never recovered from early jolts and were eventually restricted to 153-8 in 20 overs, 25 runs short of target. Rajasthan started chase positively with 17 runs coming from first two overs out of which 13 came off Krishmar Santokie’s over. In the 3rd over Pragyan Ojha was handed the ball and he provided MI with first breakthrough by removing opener Unmukt Chand (2) but Karun Nair hit Ojha for two consecutive fours in that very over to see RR 27-1 after three overs.

In 4th over Nair and Shane Watson clobbered Kieron Pollard for 11 runs and RR raced to 38-1 at a run rate of 9.50. Ojha in his second over provided MI with another breakthrough when Watson (5) looking to pull managed only a top edge to Ambati Rayudu at mid-on. Next over saw Sanju Samson (2) top edging Santokie’s slower delivery to point where Rayudu pouched his second catch and RR were left reeling at 47-3 after the power play overs.

Nair looked in no mood to bog down as he continued to thrash bowlers. He kept losing partners from other end first Kevin Cooper (5) fell to Harbhajan Singh courtesy superb catch by Pollard who managed to pull it back from inside the rope. Leg spinner Shreyas Gopal then removed Ankit Sharma (4) and Stuart Binny (2) in his two consecutive overs to peg RR at 69-6 inside 11 overs.

Nair, who was holding the fort at other end, missed his half-century by two runs as he tried to loft Harbhajan Singh’s delivery but was caught at long-off and RR further slipped to 75-7 at the end of 12 overs. Nair scored 48 off 24 balls with three hits for maximum and four 4s.

Brad Hodge and James Faulkner then fought hard to win the lost battle as the duo put on 69-run stand off 41 balls for the eight wicket before Santokie removed Hodge (40) in the penultimate over of RR innings.

RR were always lagging behind the required run rate after first few overs and needed 34 from last over, Jasprit Bumrah kept it simple and gave away only eight runs to see his side win by 25 runs and RR managed only 153 at the end of 20 overs. Faulkner scored unbeaten 31.

Harbhajan was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 2/13 from his 4 overs while Gopal (2/25) and Ojha (2/30) also chipped in with wickets. Santokie also picked up two wickets but was expensive giving away 50 runs.

Mumbai Indians earlier batted first and openers laid a solid foundation with 120-run stand. Both Lendl Simmons and Michael Hussey scored their fifties as Rajasthan Royals bowlers struggled to pick a wicket. Ankit Sharma the lone wicket-taker then broke the partnership in 15th over and snapped both openers in same over. Rohit Sharma along with Kieron Pollard took on RR bowlers in last five overs and scored quick-fire 56 –run partnership to see MI post a formidable total of 178-3 in 20 overs.