IPL 5: Morale-boosting 10-wkt win for Mumbai Indians

Vineet Ramakrishnan

Jaipur: Just for stats, Rajasthan Royals had never lost a game scoring over 160 runs in the first innings and today here at the Sawai Mansingh stadium, Dwayne Smith and Sachin Tendulkar of Mumbai Indians threw the stats out of the window with an emphatic 10-wicket victory over Rajasthan Royals in their last league match of the IPL 2012 season.

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When Dwayne Smith walked to the middle accompanying Sachin Tendulkar -- that was the Indians’ 13th opening pair and finally the experiment worked. The Master and his Caribbean partner knocked of those 163 runs with ease and in the process made the highest opening stand in IPL history.

For Rajasthan, the down and out team were not able to put up a final show for their home crowd as Shaun Tait, Sid Trivedi and Ajit Chandila all proved to be futile against the class of Sachin and the power hitting of Smith.

With a relaxed frame of mind this game was definitely for Mumbai to win, but their clinical effort with the bat was a clear warning for Chennai Super Kings who would be facing Mumbai in the playoffs on 23rd of May.

Smith stood tall with 87 runs in just 58 balls and his bottom-hand ridden Calypso brand of shot making was a treat to watch as was Sachin’s majestic cover drive in the 15th over.

Sachin finally got going this season with a rather fluent 58 off 51 balls.

Rajasthan had a very bad field day today with a lot of sloppy work in the outfield leading to unnecessary boundaries and few dropped chances.

Mumbai where never behind the 8-ball chasing the modest total of 163 on a very placid wicket.

Earlier in the day, Royals posted a competitive 162 runs in the allotted 20 overs courtesy a breezy innings of 30 runs off 17 balls by Stuart Binny and Shane Watson 45 (36). Owais Shah (28) and Ashok Maneria (20) provided the late imputes to the innings after Dhawal Kulkarni, playing his first IPL match of the season, bowled a good spell first up to keep the RR run rate in check. Kulkarni finished with impressive match figures of 4-1-18-3.

After putting themselves into bat, the Rajasthan Royals had an early stutter as Dhawal Kulkarni got some bounce out of the track. He got rid of Rahul Dravid in his first over, the second of the match courtesy a short and wide delivery which the veteran went about chasing only managing an edge straight to keeper. From there on, Kulkarni bowled a good line beating Shane Watson’s bat a couple of times. Man in-form Ajinkya Rahane was the next batsmen to go as he tried to pull Kulkarni, failing to get the elevation as Rohit Sharma took a sharp catch at short mid on.

At that time RR were 31 for 2 in 6 overs and the momentum was shifted into the hosts favour by Stuart Binny as he pummeled one Harbhajan Singh over right after the time out for 22 runs. Watson then joined in with a massive six in the 11th over. They got their 50-run partnership but Binny ran himself out in the next over and Watson was cleaned up by Pollard two overs later. Owais Shah and Ashok Maneria though stuck in the middle getting the occasional boundary and with swift running between the wickets took the Rajasthan total past the 160-run mark in 20 overs.

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