Rajasthan Royals defied the trend of losing games from dominant situations this IPL, sneaking to a four-wicket victory over Mumbai Indians with three balls remaining. Chasing a stiff 187 at the Wankhede stadium in a day game finishing under floodlights, the visitors replied with 188 for six in 19.3 overs.
Shreyas Gopal, chipping in with 13 not out, struck the winning runs and set off in a celebratory run. For the visitors, this was only the second win in seven matches.
Jos Buttler (81 off 32 balls) took the game away from MI with an audacious assault on the bowlers — particularly West Indies youngster Alzarri Joseph. The opener struck eight fours and seven sixes, and after his dismissal, watched anxiously as his teammates almost caved under pressure from Jasprit Bumrah (two for 23) and Krunal Pandya (three for 34). Hardik Pandya sent down the 20th over, with RR needing six runs from six balls.
RR was in the game till the 10th over (100 for one), openers Ajinkya Rahane and Buttler accumulating 59 during the Powerplay.
Piloting the chase
When Krunal Pandya induced a top-edge from the former, Buttler took on the mantle of piloting the chase. Joseph found himself at the receiving end of the onslaught, while his teammates watched on haplessly. Two sixes over long-on were special, four hits to the fence stood out for anticipation and timing. Buttler stole 28 runs in one over.
Earlier, MI’s controlled hitting — from opener Quinton de Kock (81 off 52 balls) and Hardik Pandya (28 n.o. off 11 balls) — helped the hosts put up a challenging target. Rohit Sharma returned to the home team squad as expected, the surprise omission in the visitors camp was Ben Stokes, whose final over beamer in the previous game against Chennai Super Kings had sparked off the umpiring controversy over the no-ball.
de Kock stepped out for cleanly-hit sixes over Krishnappa Gowtham’s head. Royals rotated the attack and used six bowlers within eight overs, leaking 51 runs in the Powerplay and 91 for no loss at the halfway mark.
Jofra Archer’s changes in pace fetched him three wickets, but all other bowlers — except leg-spinner Shreyas (4-0-21-0) — felt the heat.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (c) c Jos Buttler b Jofra Archer 47; Quinton de Kock (wk) c Jos Buttler b Jofra Archer 81; Suryakumar Yadav b D Kulkarni 16; Kieron Pollard c Shreyas Gopal b Jofra Archer 6; Hardik Pandya not out 28; Ishan Kishan c Jos Buttler b Unadkat 5; Krunal Pandya not out 0. Extras: (B-1, W-3) 4
Total: (for 5 wickets in 20 overs) 187
Fall of Wickets: 1-96, 2-117, 3-136, 4-163, 5-175.
Bowler: Krishnappa Gowtham 3-0-39-0, Dhawal Kulkarni 4-0-38-1, Jofra Archer 4-0-39-3, Jaydev Unadkat 4-0-36-1, Shreyas Gopal 4-0-21-0, Liam Livingstone 1-0-13-0.
Rajasthan Royals: Ajinkya Rahane c Suryakumar Yadav b Krunal Pandya 37; Jos Buttler c Suryakumar Yadav b Rahul Chahar 89; Sanju Samson lbw b Bumrah 31; Steven Smith c Ishan Kishan b Bumrah 12; Rahul Tripathi c Hardik Pandya b Krunal Pandya 1; Liam Livingstone b Krunal Pandya 1; Shreyas Gopal not out 13; Krishnappa Gowtham not out 0. Extras (LB-2, W-2) 4
Total: (for 6 wickets in 19.3 Overs) 188
Fall of Wickets: 1-60, 2-147, 3-170, 4-171, 5-174, 6-174.
Bowling: Jason Behrendorff 3-0-31-0, Alzarri Joseph 3-0-53-0, Rahul Chahar 4-0-34-1, Jasprit Bumrah 4-0-23-2, Krunal Pandya 4-0-34-3, Hardik Pandya 1.3-0-11-0.