Gowtham heroics seal thrilling win for Rajasthan

K. Gowtham's unbeaten 11-ball 33 helped Rajasthan Royals beat Mumbai Indians by three wickets in Jaipur.

Krishnappa Gowtham celebrates after taking Rajasthan Royals home in the run-chase.   -  Spotzpics/BCCI

It was a contest involving two lower-group teams but there was excitement galore for the fans. Thanks to K. Gowtham’s bristling strokeplay, Rajasthan Royals gave Mumbai Indians a defeat to remember. From a discomforting position, Gowtham slammed an 11-ball 33 (four fours and two sixes), and finishing the contest with a massive pull off Hardik Pandya at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium here.

Rajasthan had done well to restrict Mumbai, which opted to bat, to an attainable target of 168. It was always going to be a tight game once Rajasthan failed to maintain a positive momentum. The cheap dismissals of Ajinkya Rahane and Rahul Tripathi was not the start the home team would have aspired for but the 72–run third-wicket stand between Ben Stokes and Sanju Samson gave hopes to the home team.

RR vs MI, Match 21 - key highlights

Jasprit Bumrah shackled Rajasthan with two successive blows – Samson and Jos Buttler – while left-arm spinner Krunal Pandya and Hardik seemed to have done a decent job to cap a fine outing for Mumbai Indians before they ran into a motivated Gowtham.

Earlier, after losing a wicket in the first over, Mumbai plundered 100 runs off 60 balls as Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav picked the right spots to exploit the field. The Rajasthan bowlers failed to drive home the advantage gained by Dhawal Kulkarni’s fourth-ball strike and surrendered the initiative to the right-left combination of Kishan and Yadav.

The slow nature of the pitch was expected to assist the spinners but the bowlers gave an abysmal display much to the disappointment of the local fans. Rajasthan’s wasteful ways resulted in easy pickings for Yadav and Kishan. The bowlers had no control on the length and were repeatedly dismissed with contempt.

How they fared

The Top Buy: Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma, retained for Rs. 15 crore, was dismissed for a duck.

The Rookie: 19-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman, Ishan Kishan, scored 42-ball 58.

 

Yadav hit through the line and also prospered with some innovative play. Kishan matched his partner with some forceful shots square of the wicket. The ease with which Kishan and Yadav hit across the line also added to the woes of the Rajasthan bowlers.

The 82-ball 129-run partnership between Kishan and Yadav formed the foundation of Mumbai's innings. Rajasthan gave a pitiable account of its fielding. Lack of anticipating and athleticism also hurt the Rajasthan camp sorely as Yadav and Kishan profited hugely by the lack of discipline in the opposition attack before Jofra Archer put the brakes on Mumbai’s run-spree.

Rajasthan, however, came back into the game when Kishan and Yadav both fell to identical skiers taken by wicketkeeper Jos Buttler at a critical stage of the innings. Archer and Jaydev Unadkat earned respect by cramping the batsmen for shots. Archer was the pick as he claimed three wickets in his final over.