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IPL 2014 – MI vs RR: MI Keep RR Waiting With Fourth Win

By on May 19, 2014

Mumbai Indians 178 for 3 (Simmons 62, Hussey 56) beat Rajasthan Royals 153 for 8 (Nair 48, Harbhajan 2-13, Gopal 2-25) by 25 runs…

In their 11th game of the IPL 7, Mumbai Indians tinkered with their opening pair for the sixth time and it proved to be a success. Before Monday’s game against Rajasthan Royals, MI’s best opening stand was 25 runs against RCB this season.

IPL 2014 - MI vs RR:  Michael HusseyIn a must win game, the duo of Michael Hussey and Lendl Simmons delivered with a century stand for the first wicket at the Sardar Patel Stadium.

Both began slowly but steadily provided the platform for a late assault with 120 runs in 14.3 overs. Each of them scored a fifty with Hussey shrugging off his bad run of four games this season following which he was dropped by MI.

Batting first, MI posted 178/3 and then restricted RR to 153/8, winning by 25 runs, to mathematically keep their chances of a play-off berth alive.

Karun Nair (48) was RR’s top scorer as MI read the conditions well with their spinners picking six of the eight wickets at Motera.

RR were never in the chase. With a new opening pair in Unmukt Chand and Karun Nair, they began their chase of 179 brightly. Krishmar Santokie, making his first IPL appearance, leaked 13 runs in his first and innings’ second over with Nair slicing his full toss over cover for a six and then lifting his sixth delivery over point region for a boundary.

Most of the RR batsmen made a cursory appearance to the crease as MI spinners led by Pragyan Ojha didn’t allow them to settle. Chand (2) was caught at deep midwicket while pulling a short one from Ojha, Shane Watson (5) was done in by sharp turn as his pull went to Ambati Rayudu at mid-on for a simple catch. Rayudu, in fact, went on to claim two more catches including that of Sanju Samson (2) and Ankit Sharma (4).

Only Nair looked comfortable with a 24-ball 48 made with the help of four boundaries and three sixes. But in the absence of any support from the other end, he perished while looking to go straight over the head of Harbhajan Singh, miscuing the shot in the process as Santokie tumbled to complete the catch. He was the seventh RR batsmen to be dismissed with the scorecard reading a sorry 75/7.

Still in James Faulkner and Brad Hodge, they had some hope left. After all, Faulkner has expertise in bailing his team out from such situations and has done that recently against RCB this season. But not on Monday. He made an unbeaten 31 (21) and even though the Australian pair entertained their ‘home’ crowd with a few lusty hits at the end to reduce the margin of defeat, still it wasn’t enough. Hodge made 40 (30) before becoming Santokie’s second victim in the penultimate over. Perhaps, it was over confidence and misreading of the conditions that worked against RR as they dropped three of their top players to record their fifth defeat of the current season.

20-year-old legspinner Shreyas Gopal, making his IPL debut for MI, was the surprise package with two wickets in four overs and giving away just 25 runs in his first competitive limited-overs cricket.

Earlier, opting to bat first, Hussey (62) and Simmons (56) put up a century stand helping MI to 178/3 . They added 121 runs for the first wicket with each of them recording a fifty.

MI openers made a slow start but slowly raised the scoring rate. The opening came in the fifth over, Faulkner’s first of the match, in which three boundaries were scored with the duo exploiting the gaps at cover and point region. Stuart Binny was introduced immediately after the Powerplay and 12 runs came from it. Shane Watson didn’t use him as the MI duo kept finding boundaries regularly but never really looked threatening, scoring at a decent pace of close to eight an over. From 11th to 14th over, a six came in each of them with the run rate touching nine.

Hussey marked his return to form with a fifty off 32 deliveries while Simmons reached the landmark in style with a six off Rajat Bhatia over deep midwicket. They perished in the same over (15th), with left-arm spinner Ankit Sharma picking them both. With the start that MI got, a target close to 200 runs was always on but Simmons and Hussey batted at a similar pace without going all out against RR bowlers.

They needed a late intervention from their skipper Rohit Sharma who smashed 40 runs off 19 deliveries to take them to a competitive 178 in 20 overs. 21 off his 40 runs came against Faulkner as the Australian allrounder went wicketless in his four overs besides conceding 47 runs as well. For RR, Ankit Sharma, drafted in place of Pravin Tambe, did his job returning figures of 2/23 in four overs.

Source: gocricket

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