Rajasthan Royals needed to punch above their weight to fell the mighty Mumbai Indians. They did, and how! In a contest everyone thought they would need to play out of their skins to make a match of it, they thrashed their fancied opponents in a ridiculously one-sided affair winning by 87 runs.
The foundation for this spectacular victory was laid by the collective effort of their batsmen, especially opener Ajinkya Rahane. The diminutive opener, who remained unbeaten while guiding his team home in a tricky chase against Kings XI Punjab in the last game, came up with an even better showing against the tougher opponents.
He again anchored the innings, scoring an unbeaten 68, allowing others to play around him freely and help Royals post a challenging 180-run target. While he gathered his runs in his unhurried, stylish manner, the quick cameos from Shane Watson, Dishant Yagnik and Brad Hodge and deflated Mumbai Indians' attack.
On a track that didn't offer as much help to the seamers as it did in the last game, Rahane and Watson got the hosts off to a flier, amassing 62 runs for the opening stand. If Mumbai Indians hoped for some respite at the fall of the dangerous Shane Watson, they didn't get it, thanks to a masterstroke from Rahul Dravid. The Royals skipper promoted Yagnik ahead of him to keep the momentum going, and the decision paid rich dividends as the left-hander smashed a quickfire 34, followed by an equally brisk 27 from Hodge.
Royals appeared ready with their bowling strategies too, opening with spinners from both ends. Chasing a huge total, the Mumbai Indians needed Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting to do something similar to what Royals openers did. Unfortunately, 'Pondulkar' let them down again, with both rushing back to the dugout with just 10 runs on the board. Ajit Chandila, the off-spinner, induced false strokes from both the legends. The openers' failure left the burden of taking the team home largely on their inform batsman Dinesh Kartik. The wicket-keeper began well, but the Royals bowlers kept chipping away. When he too fell for 30, with just 65 runs on the board, it was just a matter of time before Mumbai Indians gave up.