Royals v Mumbai Indians, IPL 2014, Ahmedabad

Royals fall behind in top-two race

The Report by Devashish Fuloria

May 19, 2014

Comments: 30 | Text size: A | A
Hattangadi: Rajasthan were oversmart

Mumbai Indians 178 for 3 (Simmons 62, Hussey 56) beat Rajasthan Royals 153 for 8 (Nair 48, Harbhajan 2-13, Gopal 2-25) by 25 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Faced with a must-win situation on a dry pitch, Michael Hussey and Lendl Simmons produced a century stand for the first wicket - Mumbai Indians' best in 40 games - that helped them prevail over third-placed Rajasthan Royals in Ahmedabad. Both batsmen scored half-centuries before Rohit Sharma used the platform as a springboard for a 19-ball 40 that lifted his team to 178. Their three spinners then shared two wickets each to give Mumbai Indians a comfortable win that took them level with Sunrisers Hyderabad on points.

However, one has to question the number of changes made by Royals ahead of an important match, given they were still not assured of a place in the playoffs. Kane Richardson, the Royals seamer, had even mentioned on the eve of the match that they were in no mood for experimentation, but there were four changes when Shane Watson came for the toss. They swapped Ajinkya Rahane, easily their best batsman for such conditions, for Unmukt Chand, who hadn't played a game this season, while also benching their best bowler, Pravin Tambe.

With this loss, they have not only kept Mumbai Indians' dreams alive, but also got stuck on seven wins from 12 games with two difficult away matches to go - against Kings XI Punjab and Mumbai Indians.

Unlike Royals, Mumbai Indians' changes didn't need an explanation. Corey Anderson had come to the end of the long rope he had got from the management, CM Gautam hadn't set the scene on fire with his batting and Lasith Malinga had left for England to join his national team. In came, Hussey, Krishmar Santokie and the young Karnataka allrounder Shreyas Gopal, all of whom played their parts.

Hussey had been dropped after only 30 runs in his first four matches for Mumbai Indians but on a slow pitch in Ahmedabad, he showed the quality that the team had been missing at the top of the order. He remained busy in the first half of the innings, manoeuvring the ball with ease, while his partner, Simmons, mainly looked for the big shots. At the end of five overs, Mumbai Indians were on 34, and more importantly, without the loss of any wicket, nine more than their previous best opening stand this season.

Simmons wasn't comfortable with the deliveries that stopped on him but used powerful cuts and lofted shots whenever offered with the right length. He had six boundaries to Hussey's one as the partnership reached 50 in the seventh over.

Hussey, the more fluent of the two, just got better with the day. He crisply timed a length ball from Stuart Binny through covers for his second boundary before deftly punching a slower delivery from Rajat Bhatia through point for his third.

Off the first ball of the 11th over, he hammered a slower bouncer from James Faulkner over deep midwicket. He smashed another six in the next over, before nudging the next ball for a single to reach his half-century off 32 balls, easily beating Simmons to the landmark.

Both batsmen were dismissed in the 15th over, allowing Rohit just enough time to cut loose. Even though Kieron Pollard struggled for timing with the ball reversing, Rohit clobbered three sixes and a four in the last two overs that cost Royals 29 runs.

Mumbai Indians introduced spin early in the chase and Pragyan Ojha, who had just one wicket this season till then, struck twice in his first two overs to remove Chand and Watson. Karun Nair played a free-flowing innings of 48 from 24 balls, but with batsmen offering catches at the other end, the Royals innings came off tracks early. Brad Hodge and James Faulkner, coming in at Nos 8 and 9, landed some parting blows but the match had long slipped out of Royals' hands.

Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by rookie007r on (May 20, 2014, 10:20 GMT)

RR have done what they shouldn't have done. Just one more win and they should have been in playoffs. Giving rest to Rehane (hope hez not injured) is I think is not a good idea. Very disappointed with their approach while chasing. Hopefully they shouldn't do these mistakes and make sure they win the next match to cement a place in playoffs.

Posted by FiizRhym on (May 20, 2014, 8:58 GMT)

regarding foreign players its tough decision for RR but I think they should include Ben Cutting as he is much better bowler than Kane Richardson plus he bats also, apart from that james faulkner is another important player, third one is captain himself shane watson howvever its tough choice to choose between brad hodge and Steve smith.....Regarding local players i don't understand why they are persist with binny can't they have a replacement to that

Posted by DaisonGarvasis on (May 20, 2014, 5:45 GMT)

I hope RR has not blown it away. Yes, they are at third place currently but has played one match extra with two difficult matches (MI & KXIP) remaining. It is difficult to see RR earning anymore points. Having said that, if KKR win one more game (CSK,RCB,SRH) they will be equal points with RR. And RCB win two more (SRH, KKR, CSK) they will be equal points with RR as well. Then it will all boil down to run rates for third and fourth positions. RR had a chance to put to rest all these speculations yesterday but they chose to rest key players and bought a loss. One more win they are through, it was a chance yesterday. I would rate the chances of KKR winning one more and RCB winning two more higher than RR winning on more. Even third place is not assured boys!!! And to top it MI still can get in the mix if they win three more (KXIP, DD, RR). I wouldnt rule that out either.

Posted by Suja59 on (May 20, 2014, 4:02 GMT)

@android_user I agree that KKR deserves the 4th place in play offs and they should make it comfortably, barring some miracle.RR will pull through to at least 3rd play off position. While I am an MI fan, I think this year they will just loose out. I don't see them winning all their remaining matches. The best I see for MI is 5th position with 12 points

Posted by dino.d on (May 20, 2014, 1:50 GMT)

So disappointed to see Sanju Samson throwing away his wicket. It was the best chance for him show his talent, instead he just threw away the wicket.

Posted by cricketlover111 on (May 20, 2014, 0:40 GMT)

Good on you Hussey, good innings setting up the win. it would have been a shame to see a great batsman like him bow out on a poor note. winning without Mallinga was a great effort

Posted by Nampally on (May 19, 2014, 23:36 GMT)

RR should stop playing games with their XI. Dropping Rahane & Tambe was omission of their Best Batsman & Best bowler in IPL 7. In addition Smith has been pushed in secondary post eve in the batting order in the last match & dropped today. This is most unlike RR management with Dravid at the helm. If they carry on in this mode, they may not make it to the playoffs. Experimentation before clinching the playoff spot will lead to their elimination. Why change what is working? RR team is settled both in XI + in batting order. Play with the settled team with no more than one change to give rest to all. Hodge is a good player & should always be in XI as one of the Four Foreign players. In my opinion Binny should not be in regular XI. He has the poorest record. I would replace him with Chand, a very talented batsman. In fact I consider Uthappa, Vohra, Naik & Chand as the 4 best openers not even on radar of the Indian selectors yet. Chand definitely deserves to be in RR regular XI.

Posted by PFEL on (May 19, 2014, 21:32 GMT)

Rajasthan Royals team selection and batting order is mind-blowingly crazy. They drop their second best batsman (Smith), and their next two best batsmen bat at number EIGHT and NINE! what are you thinking???!!!!!

Posted by Yorker06 on (May 19, 2014, 21:05 GMT)

Why is the Man of the Match award is so tiltd towards batting performances,especially in IPL or 20/20? Case in point, the Royals vs. Indians (May 19th, 2014). M. Hussey was awarded MoM for scoring 56 runs in 39 balls. Harbhajan Singh bowled 4 overs, giving 13 runs with two wickets. Now which of the two performances is more valuable in that match, that too for a 20/20 match? Was Hussey scoring 56 in 39 balls really more valuable than Harbhajan bowling 4 over spell, giving up only 13 runs with 2 wickets. This is not the only match where I have seen this. Some really great bowling performances have been overlooked and the MoM ends up in the hands of a batsman, that too in 20/20 matches.

Posted by krishna34 on (May 19, 2014, 20:04 GMT)

I think any bloke with the most basic cricketing intellect would realise that MI played some sensible cricket. Like other teams, didn't gift their points to RR. For IPL to be more interesting, teams need to step us their gas and play to their potential. And in my opinion, in terms of potential and talent - CSK, KXIP, RCB and SRH would make the playoffs very interesting and competitive!!!

Posted by   on (May 19, 2014, 18:29 GMT)

There goes Krishna34 with his concept of RR being gifted points dude do you really watch cricket or a simple RR hater.Yes today they made a blunder by dropping some in form players but again they came so close if not for the great out of form Binny this match could have been won.My humble request you to if ur a RR hater better not comment here.SRH for playoff by far the best batting and bowling is with them still they make a mess and you want them in playoff dude ur cricketing knowledge simply amazes me thats all i can say @ Anroid user Ashwin will play all formats as long as MSD captains India so no scope of Bhajji come back

Posted by   on (May 19, 2014, 18:29 GMT)

@Arnab roy...u r mistaken bro...there is 2 equations (atleast) that MI can enter into the play offs.1st eq is simple to explain: MI have to win all the games with high NRR,RR to lose the remaining 2 games (high possibilities bcz their games r against the same MI n dangerous KXIP) and then KKR should beat RCB.this makes a 14 point tie.and if MI keeps high NRR then it should be like 1.KXIP,2.CSK,3.KKR,4.MI.

Posted by   on (May 19, 2014, 17:30 GMT)

To be honest I feel Harbhajan singh should be used for ODI matches before ashwin as recently Ashwin has not been in good form in 50,over cricket and this IPL Bhajji has got back his turn and flight and passion.Still one of the best spinners in India.Although in test it is a no brainer to use Ashwin.

Posted by   on (May 19, 2014, 17:22 GMT)

It is matches like these that make me sad .Despite what others said MI actually did a reasonable job in the auctions .Their uncapped Indian players have done very well compared to last season .Unfortunately they lost 5 in a row first up .Lendl Simmons has been consistent in most matches he has played till now .So he is very similar to Dwayne Smith last year.(Of course Smith has been scoring at a higher sr and you cant compare the two but still he has been good.I hope Hussey continues his form .Good to see him bat like that.Today Rohit showed again why he should play in the middle order with the likes of Raina and not open and look like a dud.KKR deserves that 4 th spot more than anyone as SRH and especially RCB have been lucky to quite some extent in this IPL .SRH with all the talent they have have underperformed.RCB are a very unbalanced side .Gayle Kohli are not perfirming plus bowlers also not bowling too well .It was Dhonis gift to RCB last match .

Posted by krishna34 on (May 19, 2014, 16:20 GMT)

In the end, an easy win for Mumbai. Thats the way it should be. The superior team won, instead of teams gifting their points to RR. Had Malinga played this game, I don't think RR would crossed 100. The playoffs got a bit more interesting now. And it looks like every team except Delhi, are contenders for the 3rd and 4th spots. I wish the final four teams, though it may not happen, are - CSK, KXIP, RCB and SRH. That would be an awesome combination of Batting and Bowling prowess!!!

Posted by niazbhi on (May 19, 2014, 16:17 GMT)

Once again a team understood that you bring your international players top in the batting order and another failed to understand. Logic is simple.. the 32 top international players who plays regularly in the 11 are special.. There are 15-20 batsmen/allrounders among them. They are worlds best players for scoring runs and most of them have decent average as well.. They may succeed or fail. But they give you best chance to win. You have Simmons, MEK and Polard at the top. If one or two them succeeds you are in a good shape. You donot bring Ankit Sharma or Binny ahead of Hodge.. Ankit sharma would not be in IPL any team could play any number of foreign players. Hodge is in the team despite this restrictions. He is one of those worlds top 20-25 bats in 20-20s.

Posted by   on (May 19, 2014, 16:15 GMT)

Let us remind RR they have not reached Play off stage so pls dont experiment. Brad Hodge coming to bat at no 8 horrible decision.

Posted by   on (May 19, 2014, 16:09 GMT)

MI has zero chance of going to the play offs. did not get how this is a must win situation.

Posted by Cricketfan11111 on (May 19, 2014, 14:52 GMT)

Why drop Rahane?

Why drop Tambe?

Why drop Smith?

In the name of surprising the opposition RR is making too many changes. Unmukt, young and inexperienced preferred over Rahane. RR should play with the players who has done well so far and make sure of a play offs spot before resting/experimenting with players. Bad match for RR. Much needed win for MI. Wellcome back Hussey.

Posted by   on (May 19, 2014, 14:48 GMT)

Mumbai missed the trick of increasing the far so good #MI paltans

Posted by   on (May 19, 2014, 14:31 GMT)

This loss can be taken care of. Its always good to test your strength before the play offs. Great job RR. Ajinkye Rahane for Unmukht Chand, Steven Smith for Brad Hodge and Praveen Tambe for Stuart Binny and you are all set for your upcoming matches. Depending on the pitch conditions, you can play either Dhawal Kulkarni or the offie Tewatia...

Posted by BigINDFan on (May 19, 2014, 14:27 GMT)

It is weird what CSK did against RCB and now RR against MI. Until all the games are done teams cannot take their places in the playoffs or even ranking for granted. MSD blundered by relying a lot on D Hussey and not bowling Pandey. RR went one step further and made changes that made no sense just like Watson's Test batting. MI on the other hand will find it difficult to get past KKR for spot 4. Essentially RR is at risk right now but then again it makes the IPL more interesting

Posted by justcricket1 on (May 19, 2014, 14:25 GMT)

Ridiculously wrong tactics from RR, sending cooper, ankit and terribly out of form binny before hodge and faulkner in a chase was a huge blunder. They probably need to come out of playoff dreams and get their act together and play with some basic commonsense else by end of this week they will be out of playoffs and KKR and RCB will be in....WAKE UP RR, its business end of IPL and you are not yet qualified...stop useless experiments...

Posted by   on (May 19, 2014, 14:18 GMT)

@Snambidi.... I can't believe you just wished for the costliest IPL franchise to disappear. I can make out your cricketing knowledge from the bottomline you uttered. True fans stay with the team even when they finish at bottom. You are not even an IPL fan, are you? #DilSeMI

Posted by   on (May 19, 2014, 14:11 GMT)

RR what a waste of game and talent.It was simple play your best team win the match and confirm playoff spot.What we have here star performers benched and game gone and playoff spot in risk.It is really beyond my understanding what is so special in Binny that even though he has been useless he plays all games and bats ahead of the likes of Faulker Smith Hodge.When RR can bench Sanju Rahane why cant they simply bench Binny today's game must win the great Binny comes wastes 10 balls and scores 2 runs gets out Faulker Hodge got the game so close had both played ahead of useless Binny they could have won the game.If RR is serious about making to Playoffs Binny should sit out the remainder games as of now two and if they make to playoff maybe a few more but please please bench Binny

Posted by   on (May 19, 2014, 13:24 GMT)

Stuart Binny, what a waste of time. Surely ANYONE else is a better option

Posted by   on (May 19, 2014, 13:03 GMT)

I think RR missed a trick by not playing Ben Cutting. He could be very useful in a chasing situation like this just to relieve some pressure. I guess they've got Faulkner and Cooper who could do just that, but they'd need to put faulkner higher up. Also both Faulkner and Cooper don't have breathtaking batting averages although one can expect their batting averages to rise up in the near future. Smith would've also been another guy who could've really helped RR in this chase. It's too late now I guess we'll just have to see whether Cooper and Binny can support Nair and put in a few good knocks themselves

Posted by inswing on (May 19, 2014, 12:26 GMT)

Hussey and RG Sharma perform now. Too late, season is over. And what is Rajasthan thinking by replacing Smith, Rahane, and Tambe? They are not in yet.

Posted by Snambidi on (May 19, 2014, 11:09 GMT)

Although too late ,the MI Administration has recognized the need for playing Michael Hussey one of the best Players ever produced by Australia. I hope he wouldn't disappoint the viewers. But what's the use? Mumbai has already wasted every chance they got to advance from the beginning in a row as though some kind of evil effect working on them. It is too late for them.But still a few consolations wins could hold them to think whether to Surface next season or disappear like Pune Warriors. I hope mumbai my place where I lived &watched cricket Most of my life won't disappoint at least me by disappearing to thin air next year.

Posted by   on (May 19, 2014, 10:38 GMT)

can't think about winning when malinga is not playing... only in form player of Mumbai Indians.. good bless MI!!!!

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