x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Indian Premier League: Mumbai Indians throw in the towel to Rajasthan Royals

Star-studded Indians implode to 92 all out in chase of imposing target of 174 as Royals have another good home outing in Jaipur.

File picture from last year of Ajinkya Rahane, right, who helped set up a huge total for Rajasthan Royals. Raveendran / AFP
File picture from last year of Ajinkya Rahane, right, who helped set up a huge total for Rajasthan Royals. Raveendran / AFP

Toss Rajasthan, chose to bat

Rajasthan Rahane 68 n.o, Yagnik 34, Watson 31; Harbhajan 1-26

Mumbai Karthik 30; Faulkner 3-17, Chandila 2-6, Binny 2-14

Man of the match Ajinkya Rahane (Rajasthan)

At a ground that is fast becoming their fortress, the Rajasthan Royals played a near-perfect game of cricket to knock the stuffing out of a star-studded Mumbai Indians team. After putting 179 on the board, Rajasthan bowled Mumbai out for only 92 to win by 87 runs at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium in Jaipur.

Rahul Dravid did not face a single ball in Rajasthan’s innings, and yet, even if he had played the entire 20 overs he could not have constructed a target better. A contrasting cast of lesser lights played their parts to perfection.

Shane Watson, muscular at the top of the order, ensured that the batting line-up was not overawed by Mumbai’s firepower. Four boundaries off a Lasith Malinga over were the highlight of his 31 in an opening partnership of 62.

Ajinkya Rahane, perfectly poised when putting away the bad ball, batted through the innings to end on 68 at a strike rate of 125.

Flying below the radar, Rahane had hurt Mumbai without playing a shot in anger, providing the backbone while others around him took their chances.

Young Dishant Yagnik, back in the mix after missing a game through injury, was pure cheek in a 24-ball 34 at No. 3. With Dravid watching keenly from the sidelines even as the third wicket fell with nearly five overs to go, Brad Hodge finished the innings in style.

Dravid continued to ignore conventional wisdom, opening the bowling with the spin of Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan, drafted into the side in place of S Sreesanth, who was rested. Chandila, tall and upright in delivery stride, bowls his offspin with an open-chested action that would dismay purists, but was a captain’s delight.

First, he had Sachin Tendulkar caught at short fine-leg, a top-edged sweep ballooning safely into Siddharth Trivedi’s hands, and then Ricky Ponting popped back a return catch. At 10 for 2, Mumbai were in trouble, and Rohit Sharma, instead of calming nerves, gave Rajasthan further cause to celebrate.

A lazy pull shot to the fielder inside the circle left Mumbai 26 for 3, which would soon become 31 for 4 when Binny sent Kieron Pollard’s middle stump cartwheeling.

Dinesh Karthik and Ambati Rayudu attempted a revival but with the required rate spiraling, risks were taken and wickets tumbled. James Faulkner picked up three wickets at the end as Mumbai were routed.

Anand Vasu is managing editor with Wisden India.

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