For once, the dew wasn’t a factor. Most teams that have won the toss in Mumbai have opted to bowl first without a second thought because the field, in the words of Shreyas Iyer, resembles a swimming pool later on.

But with the Mumbai Indians vs Rajasthan Royals game being played during the day, the toss wasnt as big a factor. It came down to cricket and that is how it should always be.

Rajasthan Royals put 193/8 on the board and then put in a brilliant bowling performance to win by 23 runs.

MI’s decision to bowl first seemed to have backfired initially though. Jos Buttler found his touch early and took Basil Thampi to the cleaners. The pacer got his length wrong and was carted for 26 runs in the fourth over of the innings.

And the runs kept flowing at a good rate for much of the first half despite RR losing Yashasvi Jaiswal and Devdutt Padikkal early. Buttler played his role to perfection and he was aided in his quest by skipper Sanju Samson.

The duo put on 82 off 50 balls to give the rest of the batting line-up a perfect platform before Samson was dismissed for 30.

And Shimron Hetmyer didn’t need a second invitation to take advantage of that. The left-hander who has been in fine form smashed 35 off 14 balls to put RR well on course for 200.

But that is when Jasprit Bumrah decided to show his class. In the 19th over of the innings, he conceded just 3 runs and took 3 wickets (Hetmyer, Buttler and R Ashwin). Some brilliant yorkers and slower balls doing the trick.

The over brought about a slowdown and RR ended up with 193/8 – short of 200 but a massive total nonetheless.

In reply, Mumbai got off to a good start thanks to Ishan Kishan, who got his second successful fifty before being dismissed, but the real push came along when Tilak Verma got going.

The 19-year-old, who probably wouldn’t even have been part of the playing XI if Suryakumar Yadav was fit, lit up the stadium with some fabulous hitting all around the park before he was finally dismissed by a wonderful piece of bowling by Ashwin for a 33-ball 61.

When Varma fell, MI needed 59 off 34 balls with their designated finishers for the season, Kieron Pollard and Tim David in the middle. Both batters were new to the crease but could finish things rather quickly if they got going.

But Yuzvendra Chahal trapped David leg before and then Daniel Sams was sent back the very next ball thanks to a brilliant catch by Buttler. He could have had a hat-trick but Karun Nair (on the field as a substitute) failed to hold on to a chance at first slip.

Chahal finished his spell with figures of 4-0-26-2 and going into the last four overs MI needed 57 off 24 balls.

It was all on Pollard but he never got going and ended up with 22 off 24 balls before being dismissed off the last ball of the match. MI finished with 170/8.

RR’s spin twins – Chahal and Ashwin bowled brilliantly and their spells proved to be the difference in the end. MI were in a good position in their chase but were unable to finish as well as they have shown in the past.


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