Date: 1st May 2015, 8 pm
Venue: Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
Toss: Rajasthan Royals, chose to field
Result: Mumbai Indians won by 8 runs
It was a close call match between MI and RR till Sanju fired from the center. As soon as he got out, RR collapsed.
Winning the toss, RR decided to bowl first. For the first 16 overs of Mumbai’s innings, it had seemed as if they would set a target of 165 at the most. Their openers made a bright start on a true pitch, but Parthiv Patel – typically – failed to convert a breezy start, and Unmukt Chand struggled his way to 13 off 14. Still, with Lendl Simmons scoring a 31-ball 38 at the top, Mumbai were going along at over eight an over for the first ten. It was decent going, but their batsmen kept getting out just when they were getting in.
Rohit Sharma provided another example of that, moving smoothly to 27 from 20 – with a couple of authoritative pulls in the mix – before picking out short fine leg off Dhawal Kulkarni. When he fell, Mumbai were 120 for 4 in the 15th over, and a tight 16th from Ankit Sharma, who mixed his pace well while not deriving too much turn, left them 126 for 4 after 16.
That was when Royals’ new-look death bowling floundered, and in Rayudu and Pollard Mumbai had just the right pair at the crease to take heavy toll. Rayudu hadn’t had the greatest of starts to his season, and hadn’t even played all of Mumbai’s matches, but he looked in top form here, striking the ball cleanly and picking up four fours and three sixes. One of them, not much more than a pick-up shot off Theron, soared high over wide long-on and landed in the second tier.
At various points, particularly when Sanju Samson was at the crease, Royals looked in control of the chase. But Mumbai’s bowlers, unlike Royals’, found their lengths at the death. Together, Mitchell McClenaghan and Lasith Malinga conceded only 14 runs in the 18th and 19th overs, and picked up three wickets. It left Royals 20 to get from the final over, and even though Vinay Kumar made things interesting with a couple of high full-tosses – one of which was a no-ball that produced both a catch in the deep and a run-out – it was too much of a hurdle to cross. Having made a storming start to the season, Royals went winless for the fifth match in a row.
Sanju Samson at Post Match Press Conference –
“The over in which I got out changed the game,” said wicketkeeper Samson, who powered his way to a brilliant 76 off 46 balls to take Rajasthan closer to victory before falling to McClenaghan in the 18th over. “Today it was my turn to go up and perform for the team. I am always ready to bat up the order or anywhere my team wants me to bat.”
Samson defended Australia’s man-in-form Smith, who scored 28 in 20 balls before falling to McClenaghan, and said their partnership worth 46 was a very important one in Royals’ run-chase. “He (Smith) cannot play well in every game. He tried his best it was not his day. He gave good support. If you have a fine batsman at the other end builds up your confidence. My partnership with him though small was important.”
“Talking about my season, it was a bit tough for me. Each and every staff in our team, including Rahul Dravid (mentor), Paddy Upton (head coach), Zubin Bharicha (director of cricket) and Monty Desai (coach), have supported me. “It’s one of the best teams I have played for in my career. In other teams when you do well people are around you. In our team even if you don’t do well you can see so many people coming to you and talking positive things to you.”