Mumbai Indians were 126/4 after 16 overs after Rajasthan Royals asked them to bat first in match no.32 of IPL-8 at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium in the second match on May Day, which incidentally was also Maharashtra Day. After two victories in their last three matches, Mumbai were on a weak footing against Royals. But then came the transformation brought about by Ambati Rayudu in the company of Kieron Pollard. These two blasted the RR bowlers for 61 in the last 4 fours and from an expectedly poor score, MI catapulted themselves to 187/5 at the end of 20. Ambati Rayudu scored 53 off 27 and Pollard added 24 from 14. Coming out to chase 188 for a win, Rajasthan lost the prolific Ajinkya Rahane in the fourth over but Shane Watson and Sanju Samson added 41 for the second wicket in quick time and RR looked like overhauling MI’s total even after Watson got out. Sanju Samson stood like a rock and tore the MI attack to shreds. He took RR close to winning the match as the eighteenth over got underway. RR required 34 in 18 balls and the way Samson was hitting, victory looked very much on the cards. Off the third ball of the 18th over, Samson hoisted Mitchell McClenaghan for a six with the sweetest of timing. But Mumbai Indians were back in the game off the fourth ball as Samson holed out to long off, where Jagdeesha Suchith brought off a well-judged catch. With McClenaghan also removing Karun Nair off the fifth ball, the match tilted decisively in Mumbai’s favor. In the end, RR fell short by 8 runs and Mumbai recorded their third win this IPL season.
Shane Watson asked Mumbai Indians to bat first after winning the toss. Mumbai began well with Parthiv Patel and Lendl Simmons collecting 43 runs in the fifth over, when Patel fell caught and bowled to Dhawal Kulkarni. Mumbai lost Simmons and Unmukt Chand as well and by the 11th over, they reached 84/3. Rohit Sharma and Rayudu added 36 runs for the fourth wicket but Sharma also fell to leave Mumbai at 120/4 in 15th over. The scoring rate at this stage had dropped considerably and not many overs remained. But Rayudu and Pollard played attacking knocks under trying circumstances and pushed up the scoring. Over no. 17 went for 13 runs, 18th for 20 runs, 19th for 16 and the last over realized 12 despite Pollard falling on the fourth ball. Mumbai reached 187/5 with Rayudu remaining unbeaten on a 27-ball 53 that included 4 fours and 3 sixes.
The chase of 188 wasn’t so difficult for Rajasthan Royals, who have a very strong batting line-up beginning with the Orange-Cap holder Ajinkya Rahane. In Shane Watson, Steve Smith, Sanju Samson, Stuart Binny, Karun Nair and Deepak Hooda, they have batsmen, who are capable of turning the tide in any game. Though Rahane went out cheaply, Watson had Sanju Samson for company. The two of them added 41 in 4 overs before Watson was bowled by Suchith. But Samson and Steve Smith added 56 for the third wicket and RR looked on course with Samson taking control in his hands. The 20-year old batsman from Kerala struck the MI bowlers with vengeance. He looked unstoppable until he was snapped at the long-off boundary in the 18th over. His departure was immediately followed by two more wickets and Mumbai were back in the driver’s seat. In the last two overs, Malinga and Vinay Kumar ensured that they didn’t yield too many runs and Mumbai rode their luck to score their third win this season. Mumbai have a great chance of improving their standing, when they go to Mohali on Sunday to play against the beleaguered Kings Eleven.