Jofra Archer gave his side a dream start as he got rid of the in-form de Kock, after Pollard won the toss and elected to bat first. Suryakumar Yadav joined Ishan Kishan at the crease and the duo began to score freely. Boundaries were flowing as Mumbai reached 59-1 at the end of fielding restrictions, though Kishan’s strike rate was only 100 due to some poor rotation of strike.
Leg spinners Gopal and Tewatia were in action and they went through their overs quietly without leaking many boundaries. Kishan was dismissed in the 11th over courtesy a blinder by Archer at third man. Yadav was looking set for a big score but it was one shot too many for the stylish Mumbai batsmen as he holed out to Stokes at long-off against Gopal for a 26 ball 40. Pollard tried to show his dominance against spin, but after a six, was bowled by Gopal in the same over as Rajasthan smelled a comeback.
Saurabh Tiwary and Hardik Pandya then settled themselves as nothing much happened in the overs 14-16. By then, they were ready for the final assault as 74 runs came in the last four overs, with the junior Pandya being the wrecker in chief. Rajpoot and Tyagi’s overs went for 27 runs each. Tiwary was dismissed for 34(25) by Archer while Pandya went unbeaten for his knock of 60(21) as MI scored a massive 195-5 at the end of their 20 overs.
It was a do or die game for RR and they needed their top order to fire. Uthappa, after hitting a couple of boundaries, perished to Pattinson. Skipper Steve Smith got himself off to a quick start but dragged onto his stumps in the 5th over, to give Pattinson his second. Stokes, on the other hand, was finding his lost touch as he slammed four fours against Boult in the 3rd over.
Samson joined Stokes at the crease and took time to settle in. He wouldn’t hit his first boundary for more than three overs as he watched the England test vice captain script a masterclass from the other end. Samson got going via a six off Pollard and Stokes continued the good work by hitting consecutive fours against Krunal Pandya at the end of the 10th over.
Overs 11 and 12 did not produce much and with the required rate well over 11 runs per over, it was getting a bit worrisome for RR. It was then only that the pair counterattacked and put the MI bowlers off course. 65 runs came from overs 13-16 and those overs were bowled by Pattinson, Chahar, Bumrah and Boult ! The required equation was down to a run-a-ball 24 with Stokes nearing a century and Samson just getting a half century. The pair batted sensibly from that point onwards and made sure there were no hiccups in the chase. Stokes got to his century as he pulled Pattinson for a six over deep mid wicket, and struck a four very next ball to win the match with nearly two overs to spare.
-- Jatin Shad