From being a candidate for the play-offs, Rajasthan Royals' fortunes have plunged quickly. On Sunday evening, playing their last match of this season against the Mumbai Indians, who have already qualified for the play-offs, the Royals appeared distinctly flat.Openers fail
Largely successful as openers this IPL, home skipper Rahul Dravid and Ajinkya Rahane were both off colour. And both perished trying to accelerate the scoring.
Amidst speculation that he could be signing off as an IPL player, the crowd cheered every time he faced a delivery. But edging a delivery miles away from his body wasn't the way you wanted to see this man depart.
But there was no such problem with Sachin Tendulkar when Mumbai Indian set off in pursuit of the target. Chasing 163 would have never posed a threat, and a patient Sachin Tendulkar and Dwayne Smith made full use of the good batting conditions at the Sawai Man Singh stadium.
In the process of reaching his half-century Tendulkar, playing quite a conservative game, also encouraged the crowd that had again turned up in numbers for the last league match of the season to stay back. And the Royals played their part too - by bowling wides, dropping catches and letting balls slip through for boundaries.
The wicket column never moved as the opening stand of 163 runs ensured a 10-wicket victory.
Brief Scores: RR 162/6 in 20 overs (Watson 45, Binny 30; Kulkarni 3/18); MI 163/0 in 18 overs (Tendulkar 58 not out, Smith 87 not out)