Mumbai: “It's our home ground, we have played here. There is no secret to winning games. We have performed collectively as a unit. Someone has put his hand up and taken up the responsibility,” Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma spoke with a hint of confidence after losing the toss against Rajasthan Royals.
Unfortunately, on a night where the hosts needed a win in a do-or-die encounter to keep their playoff hopes alive, Jos Buttler left his former team’s qualification hopes in tatters with a sizzling knock of 94 at the Wankhede Stadium here on Sunday.
Mumbai may already be kicking themselves hard for losing Ambati Rayudu to Chennai Super Kings (CSK), with the Hyderabad batsman topping the run charts for his side. And now they might well need to rethink about the sale of Jos Buttler, who has provided the inaugural winners with a beacon of hope in the business stage of the tournament.
The Englishman notched his fifth consecutive fifty on the trot as Rajasthan secured a comprehensive seven-wicket victory over Mumbai.
BBL sensation D’Arcy Short, who came in for the ill Ish Sodhi failed to justify his selection as he edged one behind to Ishan Kishan in the very first over by Jasprit Bumrah.
For the second wicket, Ajinkya Rahane (37) played a supportive cameo to Buttler, who took the attack to the opposition. The duo weaved a 95-run stand for the second wicket to shift the momentum in favour of the visitors.
Hardik Pandya got rid of skipper Rahane but that that did not affect their confidence. Later on, Sanju Samson (26) got going at the other end before Hardik struck again, but perhaps, a little too late.
Visiting captain Ajinkya Rahane signified the importance of starting well during the power play and watching his side drop easy catches, particularly, at this stage, will not leave him pleased.
Mumbai signalled their intentions right away, battering Krishnappa Gowtham for 14 runs in the opening over. However, the scenario could have been completely different had it not been for some dropped catches. And they were made to pay the price.
Gowtham was the first one to deny Rajasthan the breakthrough after Suryakumar Yadav played an early flick towards mid-on but the fielder fell inches short to cover ground.
Moments later, a dolly slipped through the fingers of Stuart Binny who went reverse-cupped at long of after Evin Lewis miscued his lofted on drive. The pressure took a toll and you could see it on the face of Shane Warne in the dugout.
They were not done yet. During the death overs, Jofra Archer missed a sitter at point as Jaydev Unadkat deceived Ben Cutting with a slower delivery.
Archer shines again
Just when the openers looked set at the crease, there couldn’t be a better man to inspire the Royals than Jofra Archer. The Barbados-born all-rounder, who first made headlines against the same opponents previously, put the wheels back on track for the visitors.
Two consecutive fiery bouncers first denied Yadav (38) a fifty and then saw Rohit Sharma depart for a golden duck.
A few intense overs in the middle, roused Archer to take the wind off Mumbai’s sails as he returned with impressive figures of 4-16 in his quota of four overs.
Evin Lewis (60) soaked the pressure with a resolute knock before Dhawal Kulkarni sent him packing back to the pavilion. The likes of Ishan Kishan (12), Krunal Pandya (3) and Ben Cutting (10) failed to contribute much to the cause before young Hardik (36) enthralled the crowd with his batting masterclass.