Rajasthan Royals v Mumbai Indians, IPL 2012, Jaipur May 20, 2012

Smith and Tendulkar crush Rajasthan


Mumbai Indians 163 for 0 (Smith 87*, Tendulkar 58*) beat Rajasthan Royals (Watson 45, Kulkarni 3-18) by ten wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Mumbai Indians tried out their eighth different opening combination for the season and it clicked - Dwayne Smith and Sachin Tendulkar, with the help of a large dose of luck, put on the highest stand for the first wicket in the tournament to crush Rajasthan Royals in Jaipur.

At the halfway stage of this inconsequential match, the omens were good for Royals. Since Shane Watson's arrival, Royals' form has closely mirrored his batting form. Each time Watson has fired Royals have won, and every failure with the bat has led to defeat. He top scored with 45, lifting the Royals to 162. They have never lost a home game when they have scored more than 160.

All that was brushed aside, as Smith and Tendulkar set up only the fifth ten-wicket victory in IPL history. It looked like a completely one-sided encounter but the opening pair had plenty of close calls.

Smith was beaten plenty of times early on and his swipes repeatedly landed in non-man's land. There were several clear-cut chances as well - Ajit Chandila shelled a caught-and-bowled chance, Dishant Yagnik couldn't collect cleanly after Smith was beaten by a Brad Hogg wrong 'un, Siddharth Trivdedi caught him off a no-ball, and Tait couldn't even get his hands on a top-edge skier.

Tendulkar, too, wasn't at his elegant best; he was put down by Watson at midwicket, and then a paddle-sweep was top-edged over the keeper and slip, and wasn't exactly comfortable through much of the innings.

In between, there were some clean hits as well from the openers. Tendulkar got going with a front-foot cover drive off Tait, and Smith repeatedly played the short-arm pull behind square leg for boundaries. The match really began to slip away from Royals in the 11th over, when Smith clubbed Chandila for consecutive sixes to take Mumbai Indians close to their first century opening stand of the season.

A couple of overs later, Chandila let a ball through his hands to concede a boundary, leaving Rahul Dravid shaking his head. Besides the poor fielding, the bowling also gave away too many free runs - 15 wides and a no-ball sliced 10% from the target.

If it ended badly for Royals, it hadn't begun well either. Mumbai fast bowler Dhawal Kulkarni, playing his first match of the season, cut short what could be Dravid's final competitive innings. Kulkarni also added the scalp of Ajinkya Rahane, Royals' most prolific scorer this season, later in the Powerplay.

Once again it seemed Royals were looking to Watson for acceleration. He wasn't timing it as well as he would have liked, but the burden wasn't entirely on him as Stuart Binny chipped in with a free-swinging 30. The innings got a jumpstart when Binny caned Harbhajan Singh for 22 runs in the 10th over, slog-sweeping him over square leg for six, and also picking off three fours in the over. Watson joined the fun as he connected well on his third swipe at Smith, sending the ball for six over his favourite deep midwicket region.

Binny was then run-out through an athletic bit of footwork from Kieron Pollard in his follow-through, and a couple of overs later Watson miscued a heave off Pollard, leading to a loss of momentum. Owais Shah and Ashok Menaria, though, capitalised on some indisciplined bowling from Mumbai Indians to take Royals to what seemed a competitive total.

It didn't prove near enough as Mumbai Indians went into the playoffs with a extra shot of confidence. The questions for them will be about their combination after a couple of their experiments worked. Do they stick with the same openers or revert to Tendulkar-Gibbs? Also, does Kulkarni deserve another chance or should they go back to the experience of Munaf Patel.

Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Durga Prasadh on May 22, 2012, 9:52 GMT

    I am also surprised at the titles on some of the recent articles, lets look at this one - "MI crush Rajasthan". Well, this was a dead-rubber to start with and Rajasthan was playing for pride. Had one of the other results in the last few matches gone a different way and MI were in a "MUST-WIN" game chasing the same target of 162, would they have played the way they did? Simply put, they knew they were in the play-offs and they knew they were going to retain the 3rd place irrespective of the result, so there was really no pressure and they could afford trying something new (Smith opening the innings with SRT). It would not have caused a dent had Smith failed. The title should more likely read something like "MI wins dead-rubber". Lot of things will be answered in the "MUST-WIN" game against CSK! Even though MI won this game against RR, CSK go in with a slight advantage in the sense that they know how to handle pressure in must-win Semis and Finals.

  • Durga Prasadh on May 22, 2012, 9:36 GMT

    @CricketCraze912 - "MI is the best IPL team" - You have a great sense of humor!! MI has by far been the most luckiest team in this IPL. They performed real bad, the opponents performed worser! All their weak-links will be exposed in the up coming matches. Also, talking about their team, the only two that deserve any sort of respect in the MI team are SRT and Malinga. Every other senior member(esp. the Indian counterparts) in the team are NOT "heavy weights", but "head-weights", Bhajji leading from the front, followed very closely by Munaf..I cant imagine how it would be if Bhajji was the Captain and Munaf the vice captain!!

  • Niraj on May 21, 2012, 22:20 GMT

    MI iw best Ipl team. RCB and CSK are big hitters. KKR is spinner team. Dehli is full of fast bowlers. MI is all combined. Spin Bhajji and Peterson Fast Munaf and Malinga Hard Hitters Rayudu Pollard Smith RG Sharma

  • Niraj on May 21, 2012, 21:54 GMT

    Mumbai is possibly one of the best well coordinated teams. If one person doesnt perform another one does. We all know MI is going to win the next 2 IPL

  • Rishi on May 21, 2012, 18:19 GMT

    Smith will play cause he bowls a tidy spell.... advantage over gibbs

  • Shiv on May 21, 2012, 14:12 GMT

    I think MI should go with Sachin and Smith to open. Gibbs' slow innings cost MI their previous match. Also, ofcourse Munaf Patel.

  • Dummy4 on May 21, 2012, 14:04 GMT

    @Selfishkar Sachin has scored most WC runs ......more than any other gud/great player ....

  • Dummy4 on May 21, 2012, 11:07 GMT

    I guess The Problem with Sachin is still playing cricket when he Stops it every thing will be fine for some people

  • Satish on May 21, 2012, 9:33 GMT

    Did MI get the right opener for this IPL?? Yes.. They got Levi who scored 50 in first game and won the game.. but where is he now?? Franklin shared some good partnerships with Sachin on top and where is he now?? Smith now started but lets see where he ends.. As always,we need to wait for the thing to happen to judge it..

  • Soumya on May 21, 2012, 8:27 GMT

    Dhawal kulkarni should have given a fair amount of chance in the early MI matches.. Hope, he will play in the Playoffs.. In the previous IPLs kulkarni performed well for Mumbai..

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