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Cool Rajasthan Royals Take Humdinger

By on May 15, 2009

Rajasthan Royals

Rajasthan Royals 145 for 7 (Quiney 51, Jadeja 42, Jayasuriya 2-3) beat Mumbai Indians 143 (Tendulkar 40, Nayar 35, Warne 3-24) by two runs…

Mumbai Indians have the habit of taking games right down to the wire. An incredible last over by Munaf Patel – with Mumbai needing four – resulted in three wickets and an incredible two-run win for the Rajasthan Royals. A late surge by Abhishek Nayar took Mumbai very close to the finish line but they started to choke from the penultimate over onwards.

After being slaughtered in the middle overs, a target in excess of 170 loomed for Mumbai Indians but the last five overs witnessed a comeback as Rajasthan Royals were restricted to 145 – a competitive total but perhaps a touch unsatisfactory given the impetus provided by Ravindra Jadeja and Rob Quiney.

Rajasthan Royals’ shoddy batting effort against Deccan Chargers demanded a few changes at the top of the order and Quiney responded positively to his recall to the side in place of the inconsistent Swapnil Asnodkar. In his earlier games, Quiney often made starts, only to throw it away. Tonight, he seemed determined to stay at the wicket and play the dominant role in a stand of 61 in six overs with Jadeja, who matched Quiney in his powerful shots over the on side.

The Mumbai spinners had their say early on when Graeme Smith looked to get going. After fetching powerful boundaries off the seamers, he looked all at sea in JP Duminy’s first over. Duminy got it to grip and turn, enough to beat the bat on two occasions and when he varied his pace, he got Smith slogging at thin. The impatience got to Smith the following over when he pulled a short delivery from Harbhajan Singh straight to deep midwicket.

Yusuf Pathan failed to capitalise on his promotion as he slog-swept Chetanya Nanda to deep square-leg at the stroke of the strategy break. It was an excellent catch by Malinga, diving forward and the delight at the Mumbai dug out showed just how important a breakthrough that was. Both wickets came about thanks to the pressure applied by the bowlers and the fielders were placed at the right positions in the deep to pouch them.

The smiles faded when Jadeja and Quiney got going, taking the spinners apart, before launching into Dwayne Bravo. Between overs 12 and 15, Rajasthan managed 50 runs and the batsman who started the domination was Jadeja, who cut Harbhajan past point and slog swept over the on side.

Quiney was particularly strong over the onside, slog sweeping Duminy high over deep square-leg before tonking Bravo for 19 in an over. The power behind his strokes stood out as he sent the ball sailing at least half a dozen rows back.

An excellent legstump yorker by Malinga sent back Quiney for 51 but after he departed, the runs dried up. Rajasthan managed only 22 off the last five overs and lost three wickets in the final over of the innings, bowled by Sanath Jayasuriya. Jadeja didn’t quite maintain his fluency from that partnership with Quiney as he holed out to long-off for 42.

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a sub-editor at Cricinfo

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