Rajasthan Royals skipper Steven Smith came up with a superlative batting performance to take his team to victory against the Mumbai Indians. Smith’s sparkling knock of 79 off 53 balls was instrumental in helping the Royals chase down a target of 165, with 5 balls to spare. Earlier, Mumbai Indians rode on Kieron Pollard’s 34 ball 70 to reach 164/5, after recovering from a painfully slow start.
Mumbai bat first, fail to find good start
The Mumbai openers appeared to have vindicated their skipper’s decision to bat first, by scoring 17 off the first 2 overs! But things took a sudden turn for the worse, when Aaron Finch had to walk back to the pavilion due to a muscle pull in his left leg in the 4th over. The scoring rate then went down drastically in the next few overs. The top order failed to make good use of the batting conditions at the Motera. Rohit Sharma registered his second consecutive duck of the season and Parthiv Patel and Unmukt Chand were dismissed cheaply. MI were struggling at 45/3 in the 10th over, when Pollard and Anderson came together for the rescue act.
Pollard and Corey Anderson launch an assault on Rajasthan Royals
The explosive combination of Kieron Pollard and Corey Anderson took a couple of overs to settle down, before going BANG BANG at the Royals’ bowlers. Pollard came down heavily on Tim Southee and James Faulkner and scored a lightning fast half century to take his team close to the 150 run mark, before being dismissed in the 19th over. Anderson played second fiddle to his West Indian partner, and scored a useful 50 off 38 balls! Mumbai thus recovered from 83/4 in 15 overs to 164/5 in 20.
Rajasthan start well, Rahane stable at top
A quickfire 28 run opening stand between Sanju Samson and Ajinkya Rahane set the chase up nicely for RR. Rahane’s solidity at the top of the order was in full display today. He scored a brilliant 46 off 39 balls, constructing his innings according to the need of the situation. Steven Smith lent him valuable support at the other end and a second wicket partnership of 64 runs took the Royals close enough to the target.
Steven Smith finishes things off
After having proved his batting prowess in the Test and ODI formats in the last 6 months, Steven Smith took today’s opportunity to reinforce his credentials in T20s! The skipper led from the front, and anchored the innings brilliantly after Rahane’s dismissal in the 14th over. Deepak Hooda’s quickfire knock of 13 off 4 balls, at No 4, shifted the balance towards RR in the 15th over. And Smith did well to hold on to that advantage for the rest of the chase. He clobbered Malinga for 26 runs in his last 2 overs, and paved the way for a comfortable victory in the end.
Man of the Match – Steven Smith
Brief Scores – Rajasthan Royals (165/3 in 19.1 overs, Steven Smith 79*(53), Vinay Kumar 1/13) beat Mumbai Indians (164/5 in 20 overs, Pollard 70(34), Kulkarni 1/15) by 7 wickets