Season after season, the Mumbai Indians’ (MI) bowling has always lived up to its billing, and this year is no exception. Turning on the heat in Sharjah on Tuesday, Rohit Sharma and Co made a strong statement in a must-win game as they toppled Rajasthan Royals (RR) by eight wickets.
This win ensured that Mumbai stayed in the race for the fourth playoff spot.
Meanwhile, Rajasthan’s chances of qualifying are only mathematical, but they will be hoping to win their last game and then hope that other results somehow fall in their favour.
That MI lived to fight another day was a result of their bowling battery that successfully silenced RR’s top order, eventually resulting in other batters crumbling under pressure.
Nathan Coulter-Nile (4-0-14-4) and James Neesham (4-0-12-3) came up with stellar contributions as the Royals were restricted to a below-par 90/9, the lowest total in the IPL this season. Certainly, it was a timid response from the team that had conjured an upset against giants Chennai Super Kings just the other day.
The struggling MI batting was left with very little to do in the chase, except perhaps up the net run rate. Ishan Kishan’s quick-fire 50 not out off 25 balls (5×4, 3×6) ensured the chase was over by 8.2 overs.
Earlier, put in to bat, Evin Lewis (24 off 19 balls) and Yashasvi Jaiswal (12 off 9 balls), the most successful opening pair for the Royals, could do little to blunt the top-quality Mumbai attack.
Jaiswal started off with a pull that went for a four off Trent Boult. In no time, however, he departed victim to a short of length delivery from Coulter-Nile, having managed only an edge to MI keeper Ishan Kishan.
The powerplay score took a further jolt in the sixth over when Lewis was out plumb to a Jasprit Bumrah delivery, a back of a length that angled in.
Royals’ score in the powerplay was 41-2, which scarcely moved in the next six overs as they lost Samson, Dube and Phillips in quick succession.