Rajasthan Royals breathed new life into their IPL 2019 campaign, edging Mumbai Indians by four wickets in the final over at the Wankhede Stadium for their second success of the season after seven games.
Mumbai posted a healthy 187-5 thanks to a breezy 81 off 52 from opener Quinton de Kock. But he was upstaged by his Rajasthan counterpart Jos Buttler who cracked 89 off just 43 balls with eight fours and seven sixes.
Rajasthan seemed to be sailing to a straightforward win with Buttler approaching a ton and his team needing 41 from 41. But the Englishman went for an expansive drive against leg-spinner Rahul Chahar – going for his seventh successive boundary – to be caught at long off and that opened the floodgates.
Terrific death bowling by Mumbai saw Jasprit Bumrah take out Sanju Samson in the 17th over and Krunal Pandya taking two in the next as the equation became a tight 14 from 12.
Steve Smith edged Bumrah behind the first ball of the penultimate over as Rajasthan were six down but keeper Ishan Kishan grassed an edge off Shreyas Gopal in the last ball of that over with the Royals needing six in the last. Gopal hit Hardik Pandya over the infield for a four in the third ball of the last over to secure victory.
Quinton takes charge
Mumbai skipper Rohit Sharma looked like making a statement after his return to the team. He was getting into top gear, having reached 47 off 31 balls, before he tried to force Rajasthan’s best bowler – Jofra Archer – down the ground to be caught by Buttler, who took three catches despite not wearing the gloves.
De Kock went into overdrive by hitting Liam Livingstone for two sixes in three balls in the eighth over. The opening stand had reached 96 in the 11th over, with opener De Kock well into his stride when Rohit departed.
Despite the solid base, Mumbai only reached 126-2 after 15 overs. They rely on heavy hitters Kieron Pollard and Hardik to get the big overs in. But that strategy failed as Pollard was snapped up by Archer for six off 12.
However, Pandya was still to come. De Kock departed for a well made 81 off 52 in the penultimate over after Buttler took a fine tumbling catch at long off.
Pandya – who had hit the third ball he had faced for a six – sent Archer over the midwicket fence with a helicopter flick and finished the innings with a four and a six off Jaydev Unadkat as Mumbai posted 187-5.
After taking three catches in the deep, Buttler must have felt Saturday was his day. He certainly batted like that, clearing the infield with ease. The game-changing moment came in the 13th over when Buttler went after player of the moment Alzarri Joseph – hitting him for 6, 4, 4, 4, 4, 6. That seemed the match right there but Mumbai didn’t give up.
Bumrah was once again unplayable at the death as he snared 2-23 from his four overs, taking Mumbai close to an improbable win. But Buttler had done enough damage in that one over to ensure that even the late implosion didn’t cost his team the game.
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