Bowling might takes Mumbai to No. 1
Mumbai Indians 166 for 8 (Tare 59, Watson 2-30) beat Rajasthan Royals 152 for 7 (Hodge 39, Kulkarni 2-21, Johnson 2-23) by 14 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
On a slightly surreal night, Rahul Dravid lost his cool and shouted at the umpire, Kieron Pollard mocked Shane Watson so much he made him leave the dugout and go into the dressing room, Pollard was run out for the first time in the IPL, Mumbai Indians scored just 34 in the last five overs, but their bowling might won them the match comfortably and all but sealed a place in the top two. Mumbai and Chennai Super Kings now have one more win than Rajasthan Royals, and also a higher net run rate accumulated over 15 matches, which will take some doing to overcome.
Mumbai might not have finished their innings well despite 59 off 37 balls from Aditya Tare, who had replaced the injured Sachin Tendulkar, but it was their start with the ball that eventually sealed the game. Two wickets each from Mitchell Johnson and Dhawal Kulkarni reduced Royals to their worst Powerplay score of all time: 29 for 4. Watson wasn't one of those wickets, but he top-edged a Pragyan Ojha long hop before he could cause much damage.
Royals were 58 for 5 in the 10th over when Watson fell but Brad Hodge, held back to No. 8, and Stuart Binny tried to put the chase on track, and even brought the equation down to 38 off three overs. However, Lasith Malinga bowled two of those overs and he went for five and eight in them.
Royals could claim similar success with their bowling towards the end of the first innings, but the start wasn't that good. Mumbai opened with the new pair of Tare and Glenn Maxwell, who weren't pretty but were effective. After Maxwell for 23 off 17, Tare took over and went after all Royals bowlers without discrimination. However, he was only 24 off 15 when Dravid dropped a catch at short midwicket. He rubbed it in by pulling Binny over Dravid's head next ball.
When he finally fell, at 108 for 3 in the 13th over, Tare had set Mumbai up for possibly a score of 200. Some superb fielding and canny bowling from Royals, including Pollard's run-out by Kevon Cooper and James Faulkner's last two overs for just 11 runs, kept Mumbai down, but not for long.
Having recovered from his poor game against Sunrisers Hyderabad, Johnson was creating breakthroughs at the top. In the first over, he might have got Dravid caught at the wicket without the edge, but it was a sharp bouncer nonetheless. Royals continued holding Watson back, and Mumbai kept running through the rest.
When Watson finally arrived, Pollard started talking to him immediately. While Watson seemed furious, Pollard seemed to be laughing almost mockingly. Watson hadn't even faced a ball. The umpires had to tell Pollard off, but he eventually had the final mock when Watson - under the pressure of falling wickets and rising asking rate - mis-hit Ojha to Pollard. After celebrating wildly, Pollard went to his boundary post and seemed to have another conversation with Watson, who sat in the dugout behind him.
Eventually, Watson left the place in disgust, and finally Hodge got to bat when Royals lost another wicket. Royals needed 79 from 43 when he came in, but he and Binny brought the target down with sensible hitting. Hodge hit Ojha for four fours in the 16th over, which included a drop by Ambati Rayudu, but Malinga ensured Mumbai's clean sheet at home.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo