Rajasthan were comfortably placed at one stage needing 20 to win in 24 deliveries with eight wickets in hand. But Jasprit Bumrah and Krunal Pandya roared Mumbai back into the game picking up four wickets in the next 18 balls conceding just 14 runs. However, with six runs required in the final over, Shreyas Gopal nervelessly collected a two and a four in three balls against Hardik Pandya to help Rajasthan cross the line.
Quinton de Kock's 52-ball 81 saw Mumbai rack up 187/5 in their 20 overs. But Jos Buttler's explosive knock backed up by an important contribution from Ajinkya Rahane and Gopal's finishing act took the visitors over the line with three balls to spare.
Rajasthan's chase could have been off to a disastrous start but Rohit failed to latch onto a tough chance off Rahane in the very first over, and the opener made most of the opportunity. Having been criticised for his strike-rate in the tournament, Rahane got off the blocks early collecting two fours off Jason Behrendorff in his second over. His opening partner Buttler too got striking nice and early with a couple of fours against Alzarri Joseph before carting Behrendorff for an effortless six over long-off.
Rahane further flexed his muscles when he hacked Joseph for two fours and a six in one over and did not even spare Jasprit Bumrah as Rajasthan accumulated 59 runs in the first six overs without losing a wicket.
Mumbai took a time-out to gather their thoughts after the Power Play and the move worked wonders with Rahane falling just second ball after the break top-edging Krunal Pandya to Suryakumar to deep square leg. The Rajasthan captain fell for a well-constructed 21-ball 37, his innings laced with six fours and a six.
Buttler, however, remained unfazed by his captain's departure and, in fact, notched up a gear. Rahul Chahar was belted for a six straight down the ground while Krunal was also hit for two sixes. Rajasthan reached their 100-run mark in 10 overs which also signaled Buttler's half-century off just 29 balls.
Despite the onslaught, Rajasthan still had to score at over eight runs an over but Buttler single-handedly turned the game on its head in a matter of six balls. Joseph, who couldn't have asked for a better initiation than the 6/12 on debut, unfortunately came on Buttler's radar as the Englishman plundered him to all corners of the park. He pasted Joseph for two sixes and four fours in a single over bringing down the equation to a run-a-ball.
Chahar though got rid of the Englishman soon after, but a large part of the damage had been down by then. However, as has been so often seen at the IPL, the wicket of a set batsman opened the floodgates.
Bumrah and Krunal ran Rajasthan ragged in the final few overs with the wickets of Sanju Samson (31), Steve Smith (12), Rahul Tripathi (1) and Liam Livingstone (1) but Gopal kept his nerves to take his side to victory finishing on 13 not out in 7 balls.
Earlier, sent in to bat, the returning Rohit got Mumbai off to a rollicking start along with de Kock. The duo stitched a 96-run stand inside 11 overs for the opening wicket to lay a solid foundation.
After two relatively quiet overs, it was de Kock who broke the shackles slamming off-spinner K Gowtham for a mighty six over long on. Rohit too joined in the act getting his boundary counter running with two fours in three balls before thumping pacer Dhawan Kulkarni three more times to the fence.
Jofra Archer was greeted to the bowling crease with a four and a six by de Kock as the hosts raced to 57/0 in the Power Play. The run fest did not stop even after the fielding restrictions were relaxed with both batsmen finding boundaries in almost every over.
Rajasthan finally tasted success in the 11th over when Rohit, looking to heave Archer over the on-side, could only mistime a back of a length delivery straight into the hands of Buttler stationed at long-on. The Mumbai captain missed out on a half-century but his 32-ball 47 was laden with six fours and one six.
Mumbai lost a bit of their way post Rohit's dismissal with the new batsmen finding it tough to hit their straps right away. Suryakumar Yadav tonked Gopal for a six but was soon after castled by a well-disguised off-cutter from Kulkarni for 16. Kieron Pollard found it real hard to get his bearings and struggled all through his innings. His misery was finally put to an end by Archer on 6 (12 balls) when he top-edged Archer straight up with Gopal completing a good catch running back from mid-wicket.
De Kock, though, carried on unperturbed and got to his half-century off 33 balls but the Mumbai heat got to him and he too found it tough to consistently find the boundaries. He was eventually dismissed in the penultimate over of the innings by Archer though much of the credit of the wicket should go to Buttler who took an absolute screamer running in at long on. De Kock's sprightly knock was studded with six fours and four massive sixes.
Hardik, like he so often does, provided the finishing touches to the innings with a flamboyant 11-ball 28 which included one four and three sixes.
Ajinkya RahaneAlzarri Josephipl 2019jasprit bumrahJofra ArcherJos ButtlerKrunal PandyaMumbai IndiansQuinton de KockRajasthan Royalsrohit sharmashreyas gopal
First Published: April 13, 2019, 8:05 PM IST