Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal struck crucial blows in successive overs as Rajasthan Royals beat Mumbai Indians by 23 runs in the ninth match of IPL 2022 at the DY Patil Stadium on Saturday.
After Jos Buttler’s scintillating 68-ball hundred propelled them to 193/8, Rajasthan struck hard in the final few overs as Mumbai could manage only 170/8. Fifties from Ishan Kishan and Tilak Varma were not sufficient to deny Rajasthan their second successive win while handing Mumbai their second straight loss of the season.
Mumbai lost captain Rohit Sharma and Anmolpreet Singh cheaply in the power-play. But Kishan, who got an unbeaten 81 against Delhi Capitals, began from where he left off. After getting Mumbai off the mark with a smash through cover off Trent Boult, Kishan hit Navdeep Saini with a pulled six over fine leg, followed by a loft over mid-off on a no-ball and hitting the next ball through the same region.
Though Kishan slowed down after the power-play, Varma stepped up to be the aggressor. Varma began by pulling Ashwin between short fine leg and deep backward square leg. The standout shot from the youngster’s innings was his sweetly-timed loft down the ground off Saini. Varma’s impressive show continued when he jumped down the ground and tonked Chahal over deep mid-wicket for six followed by a four swept through fine leg.
Kishan earned a reprieve at 41 when Yashasvi Jaiswal ran across and timed his dive well to take the catch at deep mid-wicket. But as soon as his elbows landed on the ground, the ball popped out of his hands. After bringing up his fifty with a straight drive off Boult, Kishan’s knock ended at 54 as Saini took a screamer at deep square leg but his head hit the ground hard and left the field immediately, ending the 81-run partnership off 54 balls for the third wicket.
Verma marched forward to bring up his maiden IPL fifty in 28 balls and followed it up with a nice pull off Chahal. After reverse-sweeping Ashwin for six over third man, Varma went for the sweep but he missed a slower delivery and saw his stumps knocked over.
In his final over, Chahal trapped Tim David lbw with a ripping leg-break and took out Daniel Sams by tempting him to hole out to deep mid-wicket. The leg-spinner missed his hat-trick as Karun Nair spilled a catch at slip. Kieron Pollard whipped Boult for a four and six through leg-side and was given a life at 14 when Jaiswal spilled a simple catch at deep cover.
With 29 needed off the final over, Pollard crunched a four through extra cover off Saini. But the pacer kept his calm to bowl four dot ball and got the big-hitter out on the final ball as Buttler fittingly took the catch at deep extra cover.
Earlier, with 11 fours and five sixes, Buttler was a treat to watch while registering his second IPL century and first of this season. His first fifty came off 32 balls and the next 50 runs arrived off 34 balls He was ably supported by captain Sanju Samson’s 21-ball 30 and Shimron Hetmyer’s whirlwind 35 off just 14 balls.
With Buttler’s onslaught, Rajasthan were expected to touch 200. But some excellent death bowling from Jasprit Bumrah and Tymal Mills in the last two overs meant Mumbai prevented them from finishing the innings on a high.
Rajasthan lost Yashasvi Jaiswal and Devdutt Padikkal cheaply inside the powerplay. But Buttler looked in excellent touch. From the time he got his first boundary off Bumrah in the opening over, Buttler gave the feel of being an unstoppable force on a bright Saturday afternoon.
Buttler gained momentum from the fourth over when pacer Basil Thampi erred in his length. Buttler hit him for three fours and two sixes in a 26-run over. Such was the effect of Buttler taking Thampi to cleane’s that the pacer wasn’t given another over throughout the match and Sharma had to bring in Pollard to bowl.
It didn’t make much of a difference as Buttler reached his fifty in 32 balls with back-to-back fours through point followed by the gap between keeper and short third man off Sams in the eighth over.
He continued to toy with the bowling attack, punishing leg-spinner Murugan Ashwin with a boundary when he strayed down leg too often. Ashwin continued to be wayward as Buttler hit him for a six over extra cover followed by reverse sweeping past short third man.
Supporting him from the other end was Samson, who shared a stand of 82 with Buttler for the third wicket. After Samson fell to Pollard, Hetmyer went big in his critical cameo of 35 off just 14 balls,’26 of which came in Pollard’s final over through two fours and as many sixes. He then thrashed Mills for a four and six in the next over.
Buttler had a nervous moment at 99 when he got an inside edge on his pad from a Bumrah yorker. After replays confirmed that Buttler had survived the lbw review, he reached his century in just 66 balls. Though Bumrah triggered a late wobble by getting Hetmyer and Buttler out followed by the run-out of Ashwin, Rajasthan were able to reach a competitive total despite losing two more wickets in the final over, proving to be enough in the end.
Brief scores: Rajasthan Royals 193/8 in 20 overs (Jos Buttler 100, Shimron Hetmyer 35; Jasprit Bumrah 3/17, Tymal Mills 3/35) beat Mumbai Indians 170/8 in 20 overs (Tilak Varma 61, Ishan Kishan 54; Yuzvendra Chahal 2/26, Navdeep Saini 2/36) by 23 runs