Steve Smith Leads From Front As Rajasthan Royals Complete Double Over Mumbai Indians
Rajasthan Royals now have 6 points from 9 matches, only 2 short of 6th-placed KKR. Mumbai Indians remain on 2nd spot with 12 points from 10 matches.
De Kock (65) was the top scorer for Mumbai Indians
Leg spinners Shreyas Gopal and Rahul Chahar took 5 wickets between them
Smith and Riyan Parag put on a 70-run partnership
Steve Smith, captaining Rajasthan Royals (RR) for the first time this Indian Premier League (IPL) season, scored an unbeaten 48-ball 59 to guide his team to a 5-wicket victory over Mumbai Indians at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium in Jaipur in the first of two IPL matches being played on Saturday. Sanju Samson (35 off 19 balls) gave the chasing team a good start in Jos Buttler's absence. Smith, however, got the most able support from 17-year-old Riyan Parag (43 off 29 balls), as the duo put on a 70-run partnership. Rahul Chahar (3/29) had made some early breakthroughs to give early setbacks to the home team.
India U-19 World Cupper Riyan Parag showed good temperament as he matched his skipper stroke for stroke during their 70 runs stand in 9.4 overs that paved the way for a comfortable victory.
This is Rajasthan's third win in nine games and they are now placed seventh in the league table above wooden spooners Royal Challengers Bangalore even though a play-off qualification looks a long shot as of now.
Rajasthan Royals, who were in a must-win situation, raced to 39 in 3.3 overs but Rahane (12 off 12 balls) departed as Suryakumar Yadav took a diving catch at covers off leg-spinner Rahul Chahar, who was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 3 for 29.
Credit should also be given to Sanju Samson for his whirlwind 35 off 19 balls that set the pace and enabled Smith to anchor the innings in the manner only he can.
Earlier, Quinton de Kock continued his impressive run with another solid half-century as Mumbai Indians put up a decent 161 for 5 batting first.
De Kock smashed 65 off 47 balls with six fours and two sixes, adding 97 runs off 68 balls for the second wicket with Suryakumar Yadav (34 off 33 balls) that helped MI total gain a semblance of respectability.
Reinstated as skipper in place of Rahane, Smith introduced leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal (2/21 in 4 overs) in the third over. He deceived rival skipper Rohit Sharma (5), who stepped out only to offer a return catch after failing to read a googly.
Gopal could have got rid of De Kock off the last ball of the over but Jofra Archer dropped a difficult chance at long on. Making most out of this reprieve De Kock helped his team reach 50-run mark in 6.5 overs.
He reached his own half-century in 34 balls and his partnership with Suryakumar was broken when latter was caught in deep off Stuart Binny in the 14th over.
A few balls later De Kock too was holed out in long-on as Hardik Pandya and Pollard joined forces with scoreboard reading 112 for 3 in 15 overs. Pollard (10 runs 7 balls) was dropped by Archer once again. Hardik played another of his cameos scoring 23 off 15 balls.
(With PTI inputs)