SHARJAH: Rajasthan Royals had started the game above Mumbai Indians but the tables turned quite quickly on Tuesday.
In what was a thoroughly one-sided encounter, Rajasthan finished the game with their qualification hopes dashed while the defending champions produced a statement victory as things are falling into place at the business end of the competition.
With this win, the title holders are now right on the coattails of fourth-placed Kolkata Knight Riders for that final qualification spot.
After restricting Rajasthan to a paltry 90/9, Mumbai strolled to victory in just 9.2 overs and are now in the fifth spot.
Everything clicked for Rohit Sharma in what was a collective performance from his team and after Mumbai bowlers choked Rajasthan batsmen, Ishan Kishan finished things off in style.
Dropped for the previous two matches, the wicketkeeper-batsman opening in place of Quinton de Kock, returned to form with a quickfire unbeaten 50 off just 25 balls.
His whirlwind knock included five boundaries and three sixes and it looked like he was playing on a different surface after the struggles of the Rajasthan batsmen After a promising start by Rajasthan, Mumbai took charge.
In the UAE leg, the Royals’ top order has been scoring a majority of their runs.
This over-reliance was exposed by the Mumbai bowlers who were clinical. Rajasthan openers Yashasvi Jaiswal and Evin Lewis gave them a promising start and looked confident after Mumbai asked them to bat first.
Jaiswal even smashed Jayant Yadav for 15 runs in the second over but that was a distant memory in no time.
Once Nathan Coulter-Nile broke that partnership by dismissing Jaiswal, things took a turn for the worse.
At 27/1, their skipper Samson walked in with the responsibility of building his team’s innings yet again. Samson has enjoyed a purple patch with the bat but even he struggled.
Coulter-Nile and Jimmy Neesham triggered a collapse as wickets kept tumbling.
Lewis was the next to depart as Jasprit Bumrah sent him packing after he made 24 which was the highest by any Rajasthan batter.
Neesham then took the big wicket of Samson with his very first ball as the Kiwi went on to have a great outing with the ball.
With the top three back in the dressing room and the score reading 41/3, the middle order was tasked with the responsibility of taking them to a competitive total which never happened.
While CoulterNile finished with four wickets, Neesham picked up three, and Jasprit Bumrah got two. Led by Ishan, Mumbai then strolled to an easy victory.
Brief scores: Rajasthan Royals 90/9 in 20 ovs (Coulter-Nile 4/14) lost to Mumbai Indians 94/2 in 8.2 ovs (Kishan 50 n.o).