Krishnappa Gowtham scored a nerve-wrecking 33 not out © AFP
Krishnappa Gowtham remained unbeaten on 33* © AFP

In pursuit of 168 versus Mumbai Indians (MI), Rajasthan Royals (RR) weren’t off to a flier. However, two key players — Orange Cap holder, Sanju Samson and Ben Stokes — kept them in the hunt with a smart fifty-run stand for the third wicket. Things were going well for hosts before Jasprit Bumrah brought his best foot forward in ongoing VIVO IPL 2018 in the death overs. There was another twist in the tale courtesy Krishnappa Gowtham; eventually leading to RR’s 3-wicket victory at Jaipur. They now have three wins from six encounters.

Chasing 168, Ajinkya Rahane and co. brought in Rahul Tripathi up the order. Better sense prevailed as the youngster was wasted as a finisher. However, the ploy failed and Tripathi fell to a nothing stroke off Krunal Pandya.

Rahane, on the other hand, was determined to steady the ship. He got a start but still managed to throw his scalp cheaply. A soft dismissal cost him dear. Samson and Stokes got together, and were involved in a gritty 72-run stand for the third wicket. The pair took sometime to get going but turned the screws once they felt settled. What was pleasing to see that they didn’t take unnecessary pressure, and rotated the strike sensibly. The running behind wickets kept the scoreboard moving.

In the 17th over, Bumrah changed the script with two peach off a delivery. Rohit Sharma shuffled his bowlers once again, and held back Bumrah for a decisive over. He got rid of Samson, and clean bowled Jos Buttler to open the contest. He removed Samson (52) off his famous slower gripper, and rattled old teammate Buttler by extra pace and hitting the good length. Meanwhile, Hardik sent Stokes back.

Heinrich Klaasen had another failure to his name. Mustafizur Rahman accounted for his scalp. From 110 for 2, RR were reduced to 125 for 6. They needed a cool head, and a new hero emerged in form of all-rounder Gowtham. While Jofra Archer — who finished with 3 for 23 on debut — contributed a little, Gowtham predicted the length of deliveries and played a cheeky little innings to take his side through.

Earlier, MI were on course to 200-220. Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav’s 129-run stand took them to a daunting score, before RR bowlers pulled things back significantly. Archer, Dhawal Kulkarni and Jaydev Unadkat delivered with the ball.

Brief scores

Mumbai Indians 167 for 7 in 20 overs (Suryakumar Yadav 71, Ishan Kishan 58, Kieron Pollard 21*; Jofra Archer 3 for 23, Dhawal Kulkarni 2 for 32, Jaydev Unadkat 1 for 31) lost to Rajasthan Royals 168 for 7 in 19.4 overs (Sanju Samson 52, Ben Stokes 40, Krishnappa Gowtham 33*; Jasprit Bumrah 2 for 28, Hardik Pandya 2 for 25) by 3 wickets