Needing 167 to win, Rajasthan’s innings began in a disastrous manner. Rahul Dravid was dismissed in the first over when Mitchell Johnson bounced him out. Dravid was shocked by the decision as he slowly trudged off from the pitch before expressing his disappointment. James Faulkner’s experiment to promote him as a pinch hitter at No 3 failed yet again. Faulkner scored 12 off 14 deliveries. Sanju Samson started his innings with an effortless hit past backward point for a boundary. But three balls later he attempted an impetuous front foot pull which was caught at mid-on by Pragyan Ojha.
Shane Watson was welcomed by some verbal expletives from Kieron Pollard which upset the Rajasthan all-rounder.
Ajinkya Rahane was dismissed for four when he tried to hit Dhawal Kulkarni over the top. Rahane got the elevation but failed to get the distance. At 28 for four, Rajasthan needed an inspirational performance like the one against Chennai Super Kings. The star cast: Watson and Stuart Binny were in the middle.
Watson got into his elements by thumping Lasith Malinga for a couple of sixes: both pull shots which got the things moving for Rajasthan. By the end of nine overs, Royals were 58 for four. Rajasthan needed 109 off 11 overs. Watson got out mistiming a pull and was caught by Pollard at running from long-on towards his right. Pollard celebrated in style. The exchange of words didn’t stop even after Watson sat in his dugout.
Rajasthan held Brad Hodge for the end overs which meant Dishant Yagnik came in to bat No 7. With Binny he added 30 before falling to Harbhajan Singh trying to hoick him towards cow-corner.
Binny and Hodge stretched Mumbai Indians with a half-century seventh wicket stand . Hodge started sedately but then took on Ojha in his final over [the 16th of the innings]. Hodge carted him for four boundaries in that over. Rayudu dropped Hodge on 15 at deep mid-wicket. Royals needed 45 off four overs.
Needing 38 to win from the three overs, Malinga conceded five off the 18th over. Kulkarni gave away 10 in the penultimate over. Needing 23 off the final over, Royals lost Hodge for 39 off Malinga of the first ball.
Earlier Mumbai Indians scored 166 for eight courtesy of Aditya Tare’s maiden half-century (59 off 37 deliveries). Glenn Maxwell kick-started the innings by hitting three sixes in his 17-ball 22 run cameo. Rohit and Pollard had a solid base to launch the late order surge. Pollard got into his elements when he hit Tambe for a straight six over the bowler’s head. Rohit was dismissed in the 16th over when he top-edged Faulkner and the ball soared high which was pouched safely by Watson.
Mumbai Indians scored only 27 off the last four overs. But in the end Tare’s half-century proved to be the difference between the two sides in the final analysis.
Mumbai Indians 166 for 8 in 20 overs (Aditya Tare 59, Glenn Maxwell 23; Shane Watson 2 for 30) beat Rajasthan Royals for 152 for 7 in 20 overs (Brad Hodge 39, Stuart Binny 37; Dhawal Kulkarni 2 for 21) by 14 runs.
(Sarang Bhalerao hails from a family of doctors, but did his engineering. He then dumped a career in IT with Infosys to follow his heart and passion and became a writer with CricketCountry. A voracious reader, Sarang aspires to beat Google with his knowledge of the game! You can follow him on Twitter here)