Krishnappa Gowtham produced a blinder of a knock after Sanju Samson and Ben Stokes smartly negotiated a slow track as Rajasthan Royals pulled off a nail-biting three-wicket win over Mumbai Indians in an Indian Premier League (IPL) match, in Jaipur on Sunday night.
The pitch was not conducive for stroke-making but Samson (52) and Stokes (40 off 27) added 72 runs for the third wicket to push their side close to the finish line and the hosts eventually crossed it with two balls to spare.
Gowtham conjured up an unbeaten 11-ball 33-run knock under pressure, hitting two sixes and four fours to seal a thrilling win for his side.
It was not a big target on board as the hosts chased 168 but the wicket had slowed down considerably and required a lot of patience to score runs.
Samson was in control of his innings but Jasprit Bumrah (2/28) dismissed him and Jos Buttler in successive balls in the 17th over to raise his side’s hopes. When Samson got out, Royals required 43 runs from 22 balls.
It became 28 from 12 after Gowtham found a six and a four off Mustafizur Rehman. The Karnataka batsman in company of Jofra Archer found scored 18 runs from Bumrah’s next over and needed 10 from the last for a thrilling win.
Hardik Pandya was given the ball and removed Archer in the first ball but Gowtham steered the next ball for a four in the third-man region and finished off the match in the fourth ball with a gigantic six.
Royals lost Rahul Tripathi (9) and captain Ajinkya Rahane (14) inside Powerplay overs and were going at about seven runs an over. Samson and Stokes kept the scoreboard ticking, keeping the required run-rate under control.
It was only third win for the Royals in six matches while Mumbai Indians suffered fourth defeat in five matches.
Suryakumar Yadav (72) and young Ishan Kishan (58) hit measured half-centuries in a 129-run partnership for the second wicket but Mumbai Indians frittered away a good platform to settle for a modest 167 for seven.
The partnership broke when Kishan, who led India in the Under-19 World Cup in 2016, lost his wicket while trying an adventurous shot off Dhawan Kulkarni (2/32). From there, the visitors lost track as they lost three wickets in a space of eight balls.
Caribbean paceman Jofra Archer (3/22) was impressive on his IPL debut, troubling the Mumbai batsmen with good pace. He got rid of Pandya brothers — Krunal (7) and Hardik (4) — and Mitchell McClenaghan (0) in the penultimate over, denying the visitors a flourishing finish. The 23-year-old conceded just 23 runs in his four-over quota.
Earlier, the stage was set for a perfect finish for Mumbai Indians but after Kishan went back to the dug out, Yadav was dismissed by Unadkat and captain Rohit Sharma ran himself out after misjudging a run.
Kishan’s innings came off 42 balls with four fours and three shots over the fence while Yadav faced 47 balls and hit nine boundaries including three sixes.
Kieron Pollard could manage only an unbeaten 21 off 20 balls as Mumbai Indians scored only 32 runs in the last five overs and lost five wickets.
The Royals bowlers were initially successful in keeping the Mumbai batsmen silent, not allowing them to open their arms. Kishan hit Kulkarni for a monstrous six before Yadav sent one soaring off his legs in the fifth over.
Kulkarni was meted out this treatment after he had sent Caribbean batsman Lewis (0) in the fourth ball of the innings. Still, the visitors did not have much runs on the board after Powerplay over with scorecard reading 43 for one.
Yadav and Kishan kept finding odd boundaries to maintain a healthy run-rate and more importantly they had wickets in hand to go for a kill towards the end. The duo found runs on all sides of the ground and the steady partnership meant that run-rate improved gradually.
However, once the partnership ended, Mumbai Indians’ innings fell apart.