Indians claim Royal victory
The Mumbai Indians caused another shock in the Indian Premier League by beating the in form Rajasthan Royals by 7 wickets at the Dr DY Patil Sports Academy in Mumbai.
Mumbai Indians beat Rajasthan Royals by seven wickets at the D Y Patil Stadium in Mumbai on Wednesday to score their third straight win in the Indian Premier League.
Chasing just 104 to win, the Mumbai team romped home with five overs to spare, the final two runs coming in wides.
Sanath Jayasuriya (18) and Yogesh Takawale (27) put on 41 runs for the opening wicket to lay the foundation and there was no looking back thereafter.
Robin Uthappa, with an aggressive 20-ball 34, ensured Mumbai had no teething problems while chasing the small target.
The win was Mumbai's third, after four straight defeats at the start, while Rajasthan's loss was their second in seven matches and their first after five straight wins.
Earlier, table-toppers Rajasthan put up a pathetic batting display against an inspired home side and were shot out for a paltry 103 in only 16.2 overs.
For the second match running, the home team excelled on the field and also bowled with purpose to skittle out the visitors for a measly score.
Going into their seventh tie without regular captain Sachin Tendulkar's services, Mumbai rocked the visitors with superb first spells by stand-in captain Shaun Pollock and Ashish Nehra, their most successful bowler.
A plucky, and somewhat lucky, 39 off 36 balls by opener Swapnil Asnodkar and an attacking 32 by Australian all-rounder Shane Watson were the only bright spots in the Rajasthan Royals' all-too-forgettable batting effort.
Put in to bat, the visitors made a poor start, losing two early wickets before being revived by the aggressive Watson, who struck four fours and a six in his 20-ball knock, and Asnodkar, thorough a third-wicket partnership worth 53 runs in 29 balls.
The visiting team, which came into the match on the back of five straight wins after having lost their first tie in the tournament, were rocked by Pollock and Nehra and were 21 for two in the fourth over, a beginning from which they never recovered fully.
A clever piece of combined work between Pollock and wicketkeeper Yogesh Takawale, after having seen opener Graeme Smith step out in a pre-meditated fashion against Nehra, paid dividends.
Takawale stood up to Pollock and when Smith stepped out and missed a ball outside the leg stump, he fumbled but still managed to gather the ball as the South African opener was well outside the crease and did not bother to regain the crease.
And in the very next over of Nehra, one-down batsman Yousuf Pathan played an atrocious cross-batted heave missed and lost his off stump to leave Rajasthan Royals at 21 for two in the fourth over.
But once Pollock and Nehra went off the firing line after bowling impressive first spells of three and two overs for a wicket apiece, the visitors feasted on some of the other bowlers, especially Dhawal Kulkarni, and raised the tempo.
After the first five overs had yielded only 31 runs, the sixth, by Kulkarni, was punished by Watson and Asnodkar, who slammed the bowler for a six each, for 17 runs. But the medium pacer came back later to snare a couple of wickets in his second spell.
When Kulkarni was replaced by the left-arm spin of Sanath Jayasuriya, Watson, who struck four fours and a six, carted him with flat-batted shots for two fours to put some pressure on the Mumbai Indians.
Dwayne Bravo , who bowled quite a few wides, provided the important breakthrough when he clean bowled Watson, attempting a wild heave to leg, to give the hosts the upper hand again.
At the half way stage of the innings, Rajasthan Royals were 79 for three.
The introduction of Rohan Raje helped in sending back Mohd Kaif (4), who was caught on the third man fence, after Asnodkar was dropped by Jayasuriya a little earlier at short third man off the same bowler.
Rajasthan Royals lost another wicket at the same score of 82, their fifth, when Takawale brought off a brilliant catch by running backwards some 10 yards after left handed Ravinder Jadeja had top edged a hook off Kulkarni.
Wickets kept tumbling from that stage onwards as Kulkarni and Raje reduced the visitors to 95 for seven, including the wicket of Asnodkar who was caught at long off after being deceived by a slower ball from Raje.
Nehra came back for his second spell and took two wickets in one over to make it 103 for nine before Bravo knocked back the stumps of Sidharth Trivedi to bring the innings to a close well within the stipulated overs.
Nehra emerged with the most impressive figures of 3 for 13 while Kulkarni, Bravo and Raje picked up two wickets.
Another impressive performer on the field was stumper Takawale, who brought off some stunning catches and had four victims behind the stumps.