MI vs RR: Buttler, Archer power Rajasthan to four-wicket win over Mumbai
Jos Buttler’s onslaught — 43-ball 89 (8x4s, 7x6s) — inspired Rajasthan Royals to a four-wicket win. The Englishman scored his third half-century of this IPL.Updated: Apr 13, 2019 21:10 IST
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
An all-rounder in red-hot form is an asset going into the World Cup. And with the squad announcement due on Monday, the Indian thinktank would be pleased with how Hardik Pandya is shaping up following a period of uncertainty when he was injured.
If KL Rahul has got his act together to put up strong numbers in the IPL 2019, Pandya is not far behind. While Rahul has impressive numbers batting at the top for Kings XI Punjab, only those who bat lower in the order know how challenging their job is. This is where Pandya has excelled.
Having hit more sixes (11) than fours (9), Pandya is only second to the marauding Jamaican Andre Russell in terms of strike rate. He has scored 149 runs in seven outings at 183.95, averaging more than 37. These numbers are pretty impressive given that they have been garnered in the death overs.
On Saturday, Pandya was in his elements once again, jabbing Rajasthan Royals’ Dhawal Kulkarni over mid-wicket for six and displaying his own version of the helicopter shot — with a comparatively less bat-lift — off Jofra Archer for another maximum.
Pandya, who has six double-digit scores in seven innings so far, thus powered a faltering Mumbai Indians innings to 187 for five. His 11-ball 28 not out included three sixes and one four.
Buttler spoils the party
But Pandya’s effort could not get Mumbai the desired result. Jos Buttler’s onslaught — 43-ball 89 (8x4s, 7x6s) — inspired Rajasthan Royals to a four-wicket win. The Englishman scored his third half-century of this IPL, adding 60 runs with Ajinkya Rahane (37) and another 87 with Sanju Samson (31) for the first and the second wickets respectively.
Buttler ended Mumbai’s winning spree with a splendid knock, replete with proper cricketing shots. He was particularly severe on Alzarri Joseph, denying him a third straight memorable outing at Wankhede. The wicketkeeper-batsman smacked him for 28 runs in the 13th over — hitting four boundaries and two sixes — which put Royals in the driver’s seat.
Mumbai fought till the end. Krunal Pandya claimed two wickets in the 17th over and Rajasthan slipped from 170 for two to 174 for six. But Shreyas Gopal showed no nerves in scoring the required six runs in Hardik’s final over, sealing a win with three balls to spare.
Rohit, de Kock set platform
Mumbai’s regular captain was back in action on Saturday and looked set for his first half-century of the season, but a mishit had Rohit walking back for 47 off 32 balls with one six and six fours. He added 96 runs with the innings top-scorer Quinton de Kock (52-ball 81, 6x4s, 4x6s), setting up Mumbai for a score in excess of 200.
But Rohit’s dismissal set Mumbai back on multiple fronts. The scoring rate slumped, boundaries dried up and both batsmen who came after Rohit failed. Suryakumar Yadav perished for 16 that included one six, and Kieron Pollard — fresh from his 83-run knock — lacked rhythm.
Rajasthan found it difficult to take wickets at the start. But Archer took three wickets in the second half of Mumbai’s innings and Gopal did a terrific job, including a catch to dismiss Pollard, returning 4-0-21-0.
First Published: Apr 13, 2019 21:10 IST