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Jaipur: Rajasthan Royals put together a convincing win on Wednesday, thrashing the Mumbai Indians by 87 runs at the Sawai Mansingh stadium, to move to the top of the IPL points table.
Chasing 180 for victory, Mumbai were never really in the hunt as they lost openers Ricky Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar to Ajit Chandila. Tendulkar went for the sweep, only to find the ball in the hands of the short-fine leg fielder. Ponting played across, and the ball flew straight into Chandila’s hands.
Dinesh Karthik could only watch as Rohit Sharma pulled the ball to Shane Watson at short mid-wicket, off a ball that should have gone for six. Pollard then played a straight delivery from Binny, with feet that looked like they were tied together, only to find the ball hitting the stumps. Could Karthik and new batsman Ambati Rayudu put together a rescue operation?
Not quite. The pressure got to Karthik, as he holed out to Brad Hodge off Faulkner, while going for a big shot. Rishi Dhawan lasted just one delivery, prompting Harbhajan Singh to walk out with a bat that had his name on it.
Not that he would get to do too much with it.
Rayudu took off for a run, after flicking the ball in the square-leg umpire’s direction. Non-striker Harbhajan wasn’t interested in the run, and he expressed this thought with Rayudu as the two ended up at the same end. By then, Rahul Dravid had thrown the ball to keeper Yagnik, who whipped the bails off in a jiffy. Replays showed that Rayudu had placed his bat inside the crease first, and after an awkward silence, Harbhajan walked off.
Mumbai would eventually fold for 92, succumbing to their heaviest defeat in the tournament.
Earlier, the Rajasthan Royals won the toss and elected to bat. Ajinkya Rahane and Shane Watson started off on an edgy note, bringing up fours, while being tested by the odd ball that forced them to get onto their toes. However, after the fifth over, the Aussie decided to dictate terms, smashing Lasith Malinga for three fours, to force the Mumbai Indians into a time-out. The break worked. Six deliveries later, Pollard bowled from behind the crease, as Watson edged the ball to Karthik.
There would be no let down in the scoring rate though, as Dishant Yagnik and Ajinkya Rahane put their heads together.
Yagnik was timing the ball well, and grew in confidence every time he struck a boundary. The man added 53 runs alongside Rahane, before falling for 34, caught by Tendulkar off Harbhajan. Stuart Binny came and went. Rahul Dravid read the match well, and didn’t come out to bat, sending the big-hitting Brad Hodge instead.
The Australian joined Rahane in the middle, and though the opener managed to bring up his fifty, the batsmen were finding it hard to clear the boundary. Thankfully for the hosts, both right-handers cut loose in the final over, taking Mitchell Johnson for 19 runs to power the Rajasthan Royals to a total of 179/3.
It would prove to be a match-winning score.