Kolkata, May 24 (IANS) Keeper-willower Dishant Yagnik played a cameo as Rajasthan Royals rode on a late batting surge to post a decent 165/6 in their Indian Premier League playoff at the Eden Gardens here Friday.
The Royals scored 61 runs in the last five overs including 18 of the last after opting to bat first on a slow wicket, with rains delaying the start of the game by an hour.
Skipper Rahul Dravid top scored with a 37-ball 43, while offie Harbhajan Singh was the pick of the Mumbai bowlers with figures of 3/23.
But the Royals reserved the fireworks for the end overs, when Yagnik(31; 17b 5x4) and Brad Hodge (19; 20b 2x4) stitched an unbroken seventh wicket partnership of 57 in only 27 balls.
Rajasthan earlier had a steady start as the opening duo of Ajinkya Rahane and Dravid hit some crisp boundaries. The Royals skipper was particularly aggressive as he played some of his trademark drives.
Some heated words were also exchanged between Dravid and Mumbai pacer Mitchell Johnson after the batsman hit the Australian for two consecutive fours. The opening stand of 44 was broken in the seventh over when offie Harbhajan Singh castled Rahane (21; 18b 3x4) round his legs.
The wily spinner gave the Royals a big jolt in the next over removing the dangerous Shane Watson. Soon after, the popular Sanju Samson was out for a duck, trying have a go at pacer Lasith Malinga.
Uncomfortably placed at 64/3 with half the overs gone, Stuart Binny and Dravid tried to consolidate the innings, but but disaster struck in the 13thover when Harbhajan got the better of the veteran. Dravid was caught smartly at midwicket by Rohit Sharma.
Binny (27; 17b 3x4 1x6) and Kevon Cooper 4 (2b 1x4) were then devoured by all-rounder Kieron Pollard in his opening over, with both the batters playing rash shots.
Hodge and Yagnik then took charge to carry the battle into the opposition camp.
Bowling the last over Malinga conceded 18 runs including two extremely wide deliveries which allowed the opponent to move to a total which might turn out to be sizeable considering the ature of the wicket.