That was a brutal attack by Yusuf Pathan, but was in vain as he got little support from his team. With a defeat in this match, Rajasthan Royals continued their legacy of loosing their first match in IPL as they lost to Delhi and Bangalore in the first two seasons respectively. Yusuf scored the fastest century in IPL and second fastest one in Twenty20 cricket supported by Himachal Pradesh batsman Paras Dogra. After making their highest score in IPL, Mumbai Indians failed to stop the carnage and they needed some special death overs by Zak and Malinga to restrict royals four runs ahead of the target.
Rajasthan Royals got their worst possible start as they lost Asnodkar, who didn’t even face a ball, in the form of run out. Things slowed down and Sachin introduced left arm spinner Murtaza into attack in the sixth over and he struck in his very first ball, removing Naman Ojha.
Graeme Smith who looked like well settled in the crease, lost patience as he gave a return catch in the bowling of Sathish. The ex-ICL player, arguably the best fielder in India, Sathish impressed with his fielding abilities as his direct hit removed Asnodkar in the first over and he took a beautiful low catch from dangerous Graeme Smith that left Mumbai in a strong position.
Abhishek Jhunjhunwala soon followed Smith back in the hut, when a guileful slower yorker from Lasith Malinga castled him for 14. Tottering at 66 for 4, Yusuf Pathan was the only big hope for the Royals to get close to the Mumbai Indians’ total.
Yusuf’s show started when Royals need 143 of 57 balls. He struck five deliveries over the ropes and six boundaries in a span of 13 deliveries. The historical Brabourne stadium was on fire as Royals scored 60 runs from 11th to 13th overs. Yusuf murdered every full toss and length deliveries during this carnage. The boundaries over the head of the bowler stood out to be Yusuf’s special. A six in 17th over gave him the fastest century in IPL.
The mind-boggling innings comprising nine fours and eight towering sixes met with a tragic end when Sathish affected another brilliant run-out off his own bowling and caught Pathan out of his crease at the non-strikers’ end. Yusuf left his team with 40 requiring of 17 balls.
Dogra who preferred to give strike to Yusuf till then, struck two boundaries and two maxima in the same over that lifted the hopes of win in Royals camp. Their target came down to 19 of 12 balls.
The experience of Zaheer and Malinga was helpful to the Mumbai team in the absence of Harbhajan Singh.This duo bowled eleven near yorkers that didn’t allow the royals to reach the target as they fell 4 runs short of target.
Mumbai Indians became the first IPL team in the three seasons to play with only three international players. It was Ambati Rayudu, R Satish and Murtaza,who returned from ICL, became key for the team’s win.
The top order failed to make fine starts into big innings as the team lost Srilankan veteran Jayasuriya, Tendulkar the man in form and young wicket keeper Tare consecutively with team score 70 fro 3 of 6.3 overs.
Jayasuriya took apart Dimitri Mascarenhas, and Tendulkar did the honours for Tait, taking 10 runs from the four balls that Tait bowled to him. Mascarenhas hit back with two wickets in one over, and the onus was on the Indian batsmen.
The burden of maintaining the runrate was on the inexperienced middle order. Rayudu and Saurabh Tiwary fought back with blazing half centuries by both of them. Their partnership of 110 runs in 63 balls ensured that Mumbai Indians reached their highest total in IPL.
Rayudu lived up to the promise he had shown during his ICL stint and carted the Royals bowlers all around the park. His commanding swing of the bat to dispatch the ball from outside the off-stump to the mid-wicket fence earned him most of his six boundaries and two sixes. He brought up his half-century in style by thwacking Pathan for a straight six after punishing Abhishek Jhunjhunwala for two fours and a maximum in one over. Rayudu’s entertaining 33-ball innings at 55 when he holed out at deep mid-wicket fence off Uniyal.
His compratiot Saurabh Tiwary also started in style with a slog sweep that sent the ball to the boundary ropes. He charged down the ground twice one for a four and another over the ropes, all of these in the bowling of spin-king Shane Warne. His knock that had four boundaries and two sixes ended as Naman Ojha took a unbelievable catch.
Rayudu and Tiwary didn’t see the innings till its close, but Harbhajan Singh and Ryan McLaren contributed to Tait’s horror day, taking 22 off his last two overs. Each one of those runs mattered in the end.
The bowling of Royals stood below-par as the Australian speed-star Shaun Tait and spin-king Shane Warne were far from expectations. Tait got plundered for 46 runs as he collected the only wicket of Tiwary. His bowling was erratic as he bowled six wides in his four overs. Shane Warne never got any turn and his bowling was full of half volleys. He tried to vary his pace but he failed in fooling the batsman.
By: Ganta Rakesh