Royals survive late scare to win against Mumbai

Mumbai: Rajasthan Royals survived a late scare to register only their second win in the 2019 VIVO IPL, with a four-wicket victory over Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium on Saturday evening. Coming from the agonizing last-ball defeat to Chennai Super Kings in their previous contest, RR elected to field and would have been happy to have seen MI post 187/5, a total under 200 at a small Wankhede ground, and chased it down with three balls to spare.
Jos Buttler starred for the Royals with the bat as his 43-ball 89 at the top of the order set the tone for a big run chase, as well as a rollicking Powerplay which saw Buttler and Ajinkya Rahane (37 from 21 balls) raid 59 runs in the first six overs. Buttler and Sanju Samson (31 from 26 balls) added 87 for the second wicket thereafter, but both their dismissals sparked panic in the RR run chase. The Royals lost four wickets for just four runs in that duration, but Shreyas Gopal finished it off for the visitors with a timely boundary off Hardik Pandya.
Earlier, Mumbai Indians were bolstered by the return of their regular captain Rohit Sharma, who, along with Quinton de Kock, got their team off to a flier adding 96 for the opening wicket, before Rohit for a well-made 47 from 22 balls. De Kock continued his stellar touch with the bat, but the hosts lost wickets at regular intervals thereafter, including that of Kieron Pollard, who made 6.
Standout batting performance
Jos Buttler began the VIVO IPL 2019 with what looked to be match-winning knock, but his Mankading on that occasion took the wind out of his performances in the few games that followed. Against Mumbai Indians on Saturday, however, Buttler grew in confidence in the middle, and unleashed a fierce array of strokes towards the latter half of his innings to hasten RR’s run chase. Despite losing Ajinkya Rahane at the other end after a superb partnership, Buttler carried on in the company of Samson, and took Alzarri Joseph apart in the 13th over of the RR chase, as he scored 6,4,4,4,4,6 totalling 28 off the over.
The asking rate shot down dramatically after that, which enabled RR to recover from a mini-collapse they suffered towards the end. In all, Buttler struck 8 fours and 7 towering sixes, which included that assault on Joseph, who had just secured the best figures in VIVO IPL history two games ago.
Quinton de Kock has been in superb touch at the top of the order for Mumbai Indians, but a big score has eluded the stylish left-hander, which the batsman corrected somewhat in his 52-ball stay at the crease, which fetched him 82 runs.
With 6 fours and 4 sixes, de Kock was destructive at the start of the MI innings, being the dominant partner with Rohit Sharma at the other end as the duo took heavy toll on the RR bowlers.
De Kock was particularly severe on off-spinner K Gautam that led to a fiery start from the home team, but the sapping conditions at the Wankhede meant de Kock had slowed down towards the backend of the innings, even though his contribution was worth its weight in gold for the MI total.