By BV Swagath
Mumbai Indians reclaimed their no.1 spot after defeating the strong Rajasthan Royals by 7 runs at the Wankhede Stadium. Rajasthan Royals remain at no.3 following their fifth defeat in 15 games. Mumbai Indians finished with 100% success, winning all its eight games at home.
It was a high voltage game at the Wankhede with a couple of incidents flaring up – first with Rahul Dravid reacting angrily at the Umpire following a wrong decision that gave him out and second the confrontation between a mocking Kieron Pollard and a furious Shane Watson. Though the match at one stage looked to be one-sided, Rajasthan Royals made it interesting towards the end before going down with a fight.
Asked to bat first, Mumbai Indians got off to a flier from Glenn Maxwell who opened the innings to hit three sixes in a 17-ball 23. Aditya Tare, who was playing his first IPL game after three years showed that he could perform better than the ageing Sachin Tendulkar by smacking a fantastic 59 from 37 balls with 8 fours and a six. It will be a pity if Tare makes way for Tendulkar once the latter becomes fit again. Mumbai despite getting to 108 for 3 inside 13 overs could not finish with a bigger total as it was getting difficult to score once the ball got softer on the slow track.
Mumbai Indians finished with 166 for 8 with no real fireworks coming for them in the end overs. Kevon Cooper bowled well for the visitors taking 1 for 27 in 4 overs while Faulkner and Watson chipped in with two wickets each.
Rajasthan Royals chasing 167 lost Rahul Dravid in the fifth ball of the innings when he was given out caught behind trying to hook Mitchell Johnson. Pinch hitter Faulkner did little scoring 12 from 13 balls before slicing a big hit to the off side. The visitors soon slipped to 28 for 4 inside 6 overs when their run machine Rahane departed. Match-winner Shane Watson was dismissed early in the 10th over, miscuing a big pull off Ojha to Pollard to make it 58 for 5.
Despite slipping into a disastrous position, Rajasthan Royals were still alive in the contest because of their incredible batting depth. Brad Hodge walked in at no.8 to score 39 from 27 balls with 7 fours before his fight was ended by a Malinga yorker. Stuart Binny started well but slowed down in his innings of 37 from 29 balls which ultimately left the Rajasthan Royals with too many runs to get in the last two overs. The visitors finished with 152 for 7 with the new ball pair of Mitchell Johnson (4-0-23-2) and Dhawal Kulkarni (4-0-21-2) doing a great job for the Mumbai Indians.
Toss and Teams: Rajasthan Royals have won the toss and asked the Mumbai Indians to bat first at the Wankhede Stadium. Sachin Tendulkar misses his first game of the season because of a tendon problem. Glenn Maxwell on the other hand gets his second game coming in the place of Dwayne Smith.