REPORT – RR VS MI
Nathan Coulter-Nile finished with 4 for 14. © BCCI/IPL
Match in a nutshell
It may have been the perfect field to test the Mumbai Indians, who had the UAE’s second worst scoring percentage against spin this season, but it never got to that point. Rajasthan Royals lost a crucial toss in Sharjah and dragged to 90 for 9 in their 20 overs, struggling with Nathan Coulter-Nile’s lengths and James Neesham’s lack of pace. None but the openers and Mustafizur Rahman scored with a strike rate of over 66, as a total of just 7 fours and 2 sixes among all batsmen would argue. MI improved that to just 5.3 overs, and the goal of 91 runs with 11.4 overs to go, while Ishan Kishan shot to 25-ball 50* on his comeback to the side and as an opener.
How will this game affect the race to the playoffs?
Kolkata Knight Riders, thanks to their superior NRR, will need a direct win against RR on Thursday to qualify as the fourth and final team.
If KKR loses on Thursday, MI would need a straight win against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Friday.
Punjab Kings and Rajasthan Royals are still in it mathematically, but will have to win their games and pray for a Net-Run-Rate miracle.
Back to the match…
How slow was RR’s 90/9 anyway?
The slowest this season and the third slowest in all seasons when a team has hit all its 20 overs.
On a pitch that was slow and low, RR’s batsmen continued to play across the line even as MI bowlers stuck to hitting the hard length and aiming for the stumps. It’s not like they could always do that. In the 20th left of the match, Mustafizur Rahman showed by hitting Trent Boult for a huge six. The cameras immediately went to Rohit Sharma, who had his face buried in his palms, probably wondering how expensive that could be in a low-score game, but the MI captain took a cue and hit two sixes and one. four in the first eight balls of his stay. Ishan Kishan, who opened for Quinton de Kock, and Suryakumar Yadav followed suit as MI rushed through the chase with many surpluses over, setting up a storm in their NRR. Whether it will be enough or not, time will tell.
Did 90/9 start like this?
Absolutely not. Both Yashasvi Jaiswal and Evin Lewis were fired from the PowerPlay, but not before they got RR off to a good start (read 27/0 in 3 overs). The pair scored 15 points on the second over, which Jayant Yadav came in to bowl, but things changed drastically right after the sixth over when James Neesham, who was playing his second game this season, came to bowl.
With his first delivery, Neesham snatched the crucial wicket from Sanju Samson, who tried to play up and cut an edge-to-point. It was only his fourth IPL wicket, but the New Zealand all-rounder would add a few more that night, and the crucial wickets of Shivam Dube, who shone in the final game against Chennai Super Kings, and Rahul Tewatia.
Nathan Coulter-Nile does it again
The fast bowler returned numbers of 4-0-14-4, joining forces with Neesham and Bumrah after the PowerPlay to keep RR in a stranglehold. The trio took 9 wickets together and gave up just 40 runs in their 12 overs. It explains why RR went from 41/2 after the PowerPlay to just over doubling at the end of the innings.
After plucking Jaiswal with an elongated ball delivered from around the wicket, Coulter-Nile threw his three overs after the PowerPlay, hitting into each of those overs. Coulter-Nile returned for his second over and got a length delivery to stay low and burst through Glenn Phillips. David Miller was RR’s last hope, but he too fell in the 17 over, having fumbled around Sharjah for his 15 runs before being dished out lbw to Coulter-Nile. Kieron Pollard chipped in with two overs and gave up only 9 runs.
Ishan Kishan finishes it in style
Getting off goal with a single to long-on, from the seventh ball he saw tonight, was a far cry from how Kishan took the win: clubbing Mustafizur into a deep midwicket for a six that brought him to his half-century. He got off to a good start earlier with a few limits against Chetan Sakariya, who threw length balls on a pitch that suited the back of the length balls. He pulled Kuldip Yadav away for a few limits before he was back in Sakariya in a long eight-ball over, with two no-balls, one border and two sixes. The field may not have changed much, but the change of batsmen and bowlers mattered.
Short scores: Rajasthan Royals 90/9 in 20 overs (Lewis 24; Coulter-Nile 4-14) lost to Mumbai Indians 94/2 in 8.2 overs (Kishan 50*) by 8 wickets