Many eyebrows were raised when the Rajasthan Royals spent a combined total of Rs 13.4 crore on two uncapped players, Jofra Archer and Krishnappa Gowtham. But the duo proved their worth against the Mumbai Indians to give Rajasthan a much-needed 3 wicket victory with 2 balls to spare.
Archer, who was named the man of the match, bowled a fiery spell of 3 for 22 in his 4 overs to restrict Mumbai to 167 for 7 in their 20 overs.
For Mumbai, Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan were the mainstay in their batting line-up. After losing Evin Lewis in the first over, the pair put on an impressive 129 runs for the second wicket. But when Kishan fell for 58 in the 15th over and Yadav followed 6 balls later for 72, it started a collapse as the highly heralded Mumbai middle order failed to capitalise on a good platform set up by the top order. The team scored just 32 runs off the final 29 balls to put Rajasthan in the driver’s seat.
After the game, Archer said, “It’s good to be back in the park. We just wanted to restrict them. Stokesy (Ben Stokes) and I had a chat, saying we had to pull things back. The chase was a bit nervy, but I knew with our dug-out talent we’re gonna complete it easy. The heartbeat is still pumping.”
Rajasthan started their innings slowly and lost their openers Ajinkya Rahane and Rahul Tripathi by the end of the power play. Sanju Samson and Ben Stokes steadied the ship by putting on 72 runs for the third wicket. Stokes was dismissed at a crucial time for 40 with the score on 110 after 14.1 overs. He was followed by Samson a couple of overs later for 52 to tilt the scales back in Mumbai’s favour.
After a mini collapse in the middle order, Rajasthan found themselves in trouble requiring 43 runs in the last 3 overs. Krishnappa Gowtham, who had just arrived at the crease, was the hero as he smashed an unbelievable 33 off just 11 balls to give Rajasthan a come-from-behind victory with 2 balls to spare.
Speaking after the game, Ajinkya Rahane said he was extremely pleased with the performance by his team. He said, “Still can’t believe what happened. The way KG and Sanju batted, wow, but credit to our bowlers to pull it back. I thought Mumbai would make 180-190, but still KG’s knock was unbelievable. During the time-out, we wanted to take it deep, because we knew we had Jos, Ben, Klaasen. Rahul (Tripathi) batted well at the top last year, so we were just thinking about the combination. I think we’ll continue with that. Archer’s fantastic. Happy to see him back.”
This win puts Rajasthan in the 5th position on the table after splitting their first 6 games. Mumbai languish in the 7th spot, having won only 1 of their 5 games.