Jaipur: Mumbai Indians became the first team to reach the semi-finals of the Indian Premier League as they beat Rajasthan Royals by a major margin of 37-runs here on Sunday.
The loss against Mumbai Indians also spoiled Rajasthan Royal’s record of never losing on their home turf, Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur.
Shane Warne had won the toss for his team Rajasthan Royals, and had elected to field first keeping in mind the dew factor that might affect them in the latter half of the match. But none of Rajasthan Royals’ strategies and plans helped them, as in the first innings, Sachin Tendulkar washed all their hopes by helping Mumbai Indians post a strong total of 174/5, and in the second innings, the bowlers, created havoc for them by restricting them 137/8 at the end of their stipulated 20 overs.
While batting first, Mumbai Indians were haunted by the ‘Watson Mania’ initially as the aggressive Rajasthan Royal pacer snapped three crucial wickets in the first four overs to reduce the visitors to 30/3.
Shane Watson got straight down to business as he snapped the scalps of Sanath Jayasuriya (1) and Ambati Rayudu (0) in the second over itself, with much help from Abhishek Jhunjhunwala and wicket-keeper Naman Ojha respectively. Later, in the fourth over, he got rid of Saurabh Tiwary for 15 runs.
But Tendulkar stood like a rock and kept on moving ahead with his job to add some weight to his team’s score with much help from JP Duminy (31) and Kieron Pollard (25). He played a magical unbeaten 89-run innings to claim his eight IPL fifty and also his Man-of-the-Match award.
Tendulkar was once dropped on 45 run by Aditya Dole, for which the entire Rajasthan Royals team had to pay a heavy price as the unstoppable Mumbaikar kept on flowing fours and sixes from his bat to give a tough time to the hosts.
While chasing a not-so-difficult target of 1715, Rajasthan Royals were met with a horrific fate as they were reduced to 11/3 in the third over itself.
JP duminy took a stunner of a catch in to dismiss the danger-man Michael Lumb for 8 runs in the second over. The third over saw the dismissal of the second opener Naman Ojha for a duck, thanks to Zaheer Khan who got him caught by Sachin Tendulkar at the first slip.
A couple of deliveries later, all-rounder Shane Watson (1), who did wonders with the ball in the first innings, too lost his wicket in an imprudent attempt to grab a run, courtesy Ambati Rayudu and his strong fielding skills.
Watson’s run-out dismissal was later followed by two more run-outs of Faiz Faizal (10) and Abhishek Jhunjhunwala (22).
Later, Yusuf Pathan (10) tried to revive his team’s campaign, but failed. Aditya Dole (30) and Abhishek Raut’s (20) final overs frantic efforts too couldn’t be of much help, as Dole lost his wicket in the last ball of the last over, to end his team’s innings at 137/8, thus, gifting Mumbai Indians a 37-run victory along with a berth in the semi-finals.
Mumbai Indians: ST Jayasuriya, SR Tendulkar*, SS Tiwary, R Sathish, AT Rayudu†, JP Duminy, DS Kulkarni, KA Pollard, Harbhajan Singh, SL Malinga, Z Khan
Rajasthan Royals: MJ Lumb, NV Ojha†, SR Watson, YK Pathan, FY Fazal, AA Jhunjhunwala, AC Voges, AS Raut, SK Warne*, SK Trivedi, AP Dole