Rajasthan Royals 162 for 5 (Smith 59*, Parag 43, Chahar 3-29) beat Mumbai Indians 161 for 5 (de Kock 65, Suryakumar 34, Shreyas 2-21) by five wickets
Rajasthan Royals announced a change of captain just over an hour before the game against Mumbai Indians and, three-and-a-half hours later, saw new captain Steven Smith lead the team home in a tricky chase with an unbeaten half-century.
The five-wicket win was set up mainly by some strangling bowling from Shreyas Gopal and Jofra Archer, after Mumbai Indians had looked set for a much bigger total than 161 for 5, having reached 81 for 1 at the halfway mark.
Archer and Jaydev Unadkat bowled five of the last six overs that saw Mumbai score only 52 runs. Legspinner Rahul Chahar gave Royals a scare early on in the chase, again bagging three wickets, but Smith's unbeaten 59 off 48 balls took them home after he had brought the equation down to 25 required from 24 balls along with Riyan Parag. Royals now have six points from nine matches, still placed seventh, while Mumbai are at No. 2 with 12 points from ten games.
Aggressive openers and contrasting No. 3s
On a strange Jaipur pitch that had scattered patches of grass, both Powerplays were driven by the more attacking openers - Quinton de Kock for Mumbai and Sanju Samson for Royals. Put in to bat, de Kock used the middle- and leg-stump lines of the Royals pace bowlers and the ball turning into him from Shreyas to pepper the leg-side boundary, scoring 42 of his first 50 runs there. Jofra Archer put him down at long-on when he was on 4 in the third over, and that helped, as de Kock cashed in to hammer three fours and a six on the trot off Dhawal Kulkarni in the next over.
Mumbai, however, lost steam after de Kock's 34-ball half-century. Their No. 3 Suryakumar Yadav scratched his way to 34 off 33, with only one boundary (a six) in his first 30 balls. His slow scoring added pressure on de Kock, and both fell within a space of five balls, and Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard were left with too much to do at the end.
Royals' chase started with Samson hitting two consecutive fours off Hardik in the first over, followed by three off Krunal Pandya in the next to race to 21 off his first seven deliveries. Ajinkya Rahane handed a catch to cover in the fourth over before Royals' No. 3, Smith, played the role Suryakumar could not earlier in the day, to help the hosts race to 60 for 1 in the Powerplay.
After Chahar had Samson hole out to long-on for 35 off 19 and Ben Stokes chop on a legbreak for a duck, Smith changed gears to anchor the chase as Royals unveiled a new No. 5.
The 17-year-old Royals enforcer
Mumbai have been known to unleash unknown youngsters in the past, but were on the receiving end this time when 17-year-old Parag walked out at 77 for 3 after eight overs. With a healthy run rate going, Parag used audacious strokes to attack whichever the Mumbai bowlers erred with their lines or lengths, sometimes even when there was nothing wrong with the delivery. He first scooped Hardik to fine leg, then scythed him to third man, and later smashed Chahar for six down the ground. He even took on Malinga when he sent down an inaccurate yorker by drilling a drive over the covers.
Parag's 43 off 29 made sure Smith could afford to slow down and chaperone the chase as the senior batsman. From 29 off 18, Smith went without a boundary for 18 deliveries to avoid a stutter despite late wickets that included Parag's run-out and another first-ball duck for Ashton Turner.
Archer's mixed day
Apart from dropping de Kock early on, Archer put down two more chances - both of Hardik, both off Unadkat - but he made up for them with his bowling. Smith saved three of his overs for the death and Archer was accurate with a variety of deliveries: yorkers, bouncers, tight lines. That strangled Mumbai in the end despite having Hardik and Pollard in the middle when the 16th over started.
Before that, Shreyas used his wrong'uns to good effect yet again to get the big wickets. He took a return catch off Rohit Sharma with his third delivery and returned seven overs later to concede only singles and doubles in his remaining three overs. He nearly had de Kock stumped with a googly in the 13th over but got him in his next over with another wrong'un, a top-edge going to long-on.
The result means that Mumbai are now winless against Royals in Jaipur since 2012.