Trinidad and Tobago’s Lendl Simmons kept Mumbai Indians in the hunt for an Indian Premier League top four finish with a 25-run win over Rajasthan Royals in Ahmedabad, yesterday. Faced with a must-win situation on a dry pitch, Michael Hussey (56 off 39 balls) and Lendl Simmons (62 off 51) produced a century opening stand to lay the foundation after they won the toss and batted first.
Rohit Sharma used the platform as a springboard for a 19-ball 40 that lifted his team to 178 for three. Their three spinners --Shreyas Gopaul, Pragyan Ojha and Harbhajan Singh-- and Jamaican left-arm pacer Krishmar Santokie then took two wickets each to restrict Rajasthan to 153 for eight.
When Mumbai batted, Hussey, who hit three fours and two sixes, was busy in the first half of the innings, manipulating 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 without loss.
Simmons hit six fours and two sixes and used powerful cuts and lofted shots whenever offered with the right length, but Hussey looked more fluent, reaching his half-century off 32 balls in the 11th over.
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 Ojha struck twice in his first two overs to remove Unmuky Chand and Shane 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 track early.
Brad Hodge and James Faulkner, coming in at number eight and nine, landed some parting blows but the match had long slipped out of Royals’ hands. In the other IPL match yesterday, Kings XI Punjab defeated Delhi Daredevils by four wickets to stay at the top of the standings.
Mumbai Indians 178-3 (20 overs) (Lendl Simmons 62, Michael Hussey 56, Rohit Sharma 40; Ankit Sharma 2/23) vs Rajasthan Royals 153-8 (20 overs) (Karun Nair 48, Brad Hodge 40, James Faulkner 31; Shreyas Gopaul 2/25, Krishmar Santokie 2/50, Pragyan Ojha 2/30)
–Mumbai won by 25 runs
Delhi Daredevils 164-7 (20 overs) (Dinesh Karthik 69, Kevin Pietersen 49; Sandeep Sharma 3/35, Beuran Hendricks 3/36) vs Kings XI Punjab 165-19.4 overs) (Akshar Patel 42 n.o., Manan Vohra 42; Imran Tahir 3/22, JP Duminy 2/27)
–Kings XI won by 4 wickets