A late blitz from the Mumbai Indians took them to a respectable 142 for seven against Rajasthan Royals in the inaugural match of the Champions League T20 (CLT20) 2013, played at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur.
The Royals, who bowled well for majority of the innings, need 143 runs to win the Group A encounter, after Rohit Sharma (44) and Kieran Pollard (42) buoyed Mumbai’s score from a shaky 43 for four.
Rajasthan skipper Rahul Dravid, playing in his final tournament, surprised a few by deciding to bowl after winning the toss, to the delight of his young counterpart Rohit, who said he would have put Mumbai in to bat as well. But the oodles of experience and shrewdness showed as Dravid’s ploy worked, with Mumbai losing four wickets in the first nine overs itself.
Dravid used six bowlers in those nine overs, astutely shuffling his pack and keeping the Mumbai batsmen guessing. Not blessed with the presence of superstars in his team, unlike the opposition, Dravid used the Moneyball technique with great efficiency, as bowlers such as Vikramjeet Malik (three for 24) and Stuart Binny (one for 13) were among the wickets. Meanwhile, Australians Shane Watson and James Faulkner, and the relatively unknown Indians Ashok Menaria and Rahul Shukla bowled economically and kept Mumbai under pressure.
Rohit, Mumbai’s best batsman in the 2013 IPL, then steadied the ship along with a rather sedate Kieran Pollard for the better part of 13 overs, before going for a cheeky flick over fine-leg for six by using the pace of Watson. In the medium-pacer’s next over, Rohit carted him over cow corner for a huge six, before his smartness got the better of him as he nicked to the keeper, trying to guide it down to third man. Rohit was gone for a well-made 44 off 37 balls, but you couldn’t help but think his team needed him to stick around longer, with the score on 95 for five in the 15th over.
The Pollard bear then decided to wake up from hibernation as he pummelled two sixes and as many boundaries in the final few overs, before losing his wicket in the last over of the innings. Nathan Coulter-Nile then hit Malik for a four and a six to take the score past 140 and give his team’s bowlers a defendable total.
Mumbai Indians 142 for 7 in 20 overs (Rohit Sharma 44, Kieran Pollard 42; Vikaramjeet Malik 3 for 24) vs Rajasthan Royals.