Rajasthan Royals pull off tense thriller against Mumbai Indians

May 27th, 2008 - 2:25 am ICT by admin  

Jaipur, May 26 (IANS) Rajasthan Royals rode on powerful performances by Niraj Patel and Ravindra Jadeja to pull off a heart-stopping last-ball thriller against Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League here Monday night. Set to chase 146, Rajasthan Royals were 177 for five in 12 overs before Patel (40 off 29) and Jadeja (23 off 20) turned the tables with a bold 69-run run stand. The duo showed nerves of steel in the final overs to steal the match away from Mumbai Indians.

The must-win match for Mumbai Indians turned out to be the most exciting of IPL match. The visitors required 32 runs off the last two overs. The duo took 17 off Rohan Raje and with 15 runs remaining in the last overs, the packed crowd at Sawai Man Singh stadium went through nerve-jangling tense moments.

Mumbai captain Sachin Tendulkar handed the ball to the experienced Dilhara Fernando but the Sri Lankan crumbled under pressure. Patel lofted his third delivery for a straight six after four runs came in the first two balls. The next two balls went for singles and then Fernando bowled a wide. The match was heading towards the first bowl out of IPL with two runs required off the last ball. But it was not to be. Patel’s shot went past Fernando and then Sanath Jayasuriya missed to collect the throw from the deep, missing out an easy run out as they duo took two runs and eloped with the match.

The loss to Mumbai Indians means that Delhi Daredevils, who are on 15 points, have qualified for the semifinal. Mumbai’s road to the semifinal is very difficult now. They will have to hope that Chennai Super Kings lose their last match against Deccan Chargers Tuesday and have to win their match against Royal Challengers at a good average.

This is the third time that Mumbai lost a close match after having going down to Kings Xi Punjab and Delhi Daredevils.

Royals’ run-chase did not start on a good note. Kamran Akmal belted two fours to Shaun Pollock in the third over before getting run out. He paid for making a basic error of not sliding the bat when a Manish Pandey throw hit the stumps.

Swapnil Asnodkar then got a life and could not believe his eyes when Fernando dropped the easiest of catches at mid-on.

Mumbai Indians looked under pressure and in the very next over Ashish Nehra almost dropped another catch as he fumbled twice before holding on to Yusuf Pathan’s mis-hit off Fernando.

The Sri Lankan looked to make amends when he removed Asnodkar caught behind and wicket-keeper Takawale took a good low catch diving to his right. After 10 overs, Rajasthan Royals were 67 for the loss of three wickets.

Rajasthan Royals then lost two wickets in the 12th over and were looking down the barrel at 77/5. Mohammad Kaif was run out after a terrible mix-up with Shane Watson before Tendulkar took a brilliant diving catch to remove the dangerous Watson (18).

Watson top-edged a delivery from Rohan Raje, and Tendulkar running in from the mid-wicket dived full length to grab the ball. A pumped up Tendulkar screamed in joy, displaying emotion that one rarely associates with the Little Master on the field.

Earlier, the slow nature of the pitch made scoring difficult for Mumbai Indians opener. The formidable pair of Jayasuriya (38) and Tendulkar (32) struggled to find boundaries in the face of some disciplined bowling by Rajasthan Royals. The first four overs from Sohail Tanvir (4-14) and Watson fetched just 16 runs.

The duo added 71 in 11 overs before both fell to Siddharth Trivedi. Wickets then tumbled at regular intervals and Tanvir did all the damage. He was on course for a hat-trick after packing off Abhishek Nayar and Pollock in successive deliveries. He again took two wickets getting rid of Manish Pandey and Dwayne Smith.

Yogesh Takawale then hit 25 in the last over off Watson to bring respectability to the score. Four boundaries and one six came off his blade and proved to be the costliest over for Royals.

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