IPL 2018: Match 21, RR vs MI, Review - Gowtham's heroics help Royals clinch thriller; MI left heartbroken again

IPL 2018: Match 21, RR vs MI, Review – Gowtham’s heroics help Royals clinch thriller; MI left heartbroken again

It was Samson and Stokes who set up the game earlier.

Rajasthan Royals
Rajasthan Royals celebrate fall of Rohit Sharma’s wicket. (Photo by Surjeet Yadav/IANS)

The opening game of the Indian Premier League (IPL) has set a trend this year and that is of winning and losing the close games. On the day when Chennai Super Kings (CSK) clinched yet another thriller by just 4 runs, Mumbai Indians lost another last over game. Rajasthan Royals (RR) found a new hero in Krishanappa Gowtham as he just blasted 33 off just 11 balls. However, it is the third and a much-needed victory for the hosts as they will aim to make a come back in the tournament with this confidence booster.

Mumbai Indians won the toss and opted to bat first as they went in with the unchanged XI which had won against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) a few days ago. The hosts finally included the much-awaited player of the season Jofra Archer at the expense of Ben Laughlin. Dhawan Kulkarni also came back in the line-up for Stuart Binny who was poor in his first game of the season for the Royals.

Surya and Ishan tee off

Mumbai Indians have made it a habit of getting off to a poor start as Evin Lewis was castled by Kulkarni on his return in the very first over. But the duo of Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav resurrected the innings and played fearless strokes which helped the cause of their team. However, as the partnership progressed both started flourishing and the problems galore for the home side. While Surya was at his best of the leg-side playing the pick-up shots to the perfection, his partner concentrated on playing second fiddle to him early on.

Suryakumar was special through the leg-side on the day but his inside-out shot off Shreyas Gopal highlighted his knock. The bowler tossed up the ball which pitched outside the off-stump line and he just made some room for himself only to loft it over cover. The shot went for six and the Mumbai cricketer by birth had hit it nonchalantly. Meanwhile, Kishan had also got into his groove and both had left the opposition skipper and the bowlers helpless by adding 129 runs for the second wicket.

Archer leads a terrific comeback

While those two were in the middle, MI had thoughts of scoring 200 easily but Dhawal and Jaydev Unadkat scalped both of them in the 15th and 16th over respectively. Also, in the same over, Rohit Sharma wan himself out as they slipped from 130/1 to 136/4 and this is where Royals made a stunning comeback. Unadkat came alive and bowled some brilliant off cutters and the debutant Archer came to the party straight away.

He bowled an excellent 19th over in which he took the wickets Krunal Pandya, Hardik Pandya and Mitchell McClenaghan. The yorker bowled to the latter was a corker which clocked 149.2 kph was the best of the lot. Though Kieron Pollard farmed the strike in the last over, he couldn’t make much of a difference as MI could only post 167 runs on the board. Only 37 runs were scored in last 6 overs and they lost 6 wickets as Royals felt they had a real chance to win the game.

Cautious start from the Royals

Rajasthan Royals needed a stable start in the chase as they opened with Rahul Tripathi and Ajinkya Rahane. But the former played a poor shot off Krunal and soon his partner also joined him in the hut by the end of the powerplay. The latter wicket was set up nicely by the left-arm Kiwi McClenaghan by building up dot balls with the change and then foxed the batsmen with a similar delivery as he was caught at the mid-wicket.

Stokes and Samson join hands

The cautious but calculative approach continued then as Ben Stokes and Sanju Samson joined hands. They kept on rotating the strike and the odd boundary came in between also getting set in the process. It was the phase of the game where both the sides waited for each other to make a mistake and slowly the home side inched closer amidst the required run-rate constantly over 9. But they had wickets in hand which kept them ahead in the game.

Dramatic collapse

However, Hardik came on to bowl in the 15th over and castled Stokes with a base of the leg-stump yorker. The wicket squeezed the runs dramatically even as Jasprit Bumrah once again proved why he is a champion bowler by picking the key wickets of Samson and Jos Buttler. The latter one was brilliant as he bowled a pacy delivery to disturb the furniture. The collapse continued as Heinrich Klaasen edged the first ball of the 18th over to Ishan Kishan and the Royals supporters were left stunned.

Gowtham- The Man

The man who brought back his team in the game was also responsible to bring the opposition back. Bumrah conceded 18 runs in the 19th over and also bowled a no-ball in the over. But it was Krishnappa Gowtham who was the man for the Royals who came out and just bludgeoned the ball. The equation had come down to 42 off 3 overs and he just blazed away to 33 off 11 and won his team the much-needed game.

In the final over, Hardik Pandya picked the wicket of Archer to give it yet another but the youngster Gowtham took it upon himself to win it for his side and he did it. It was a fantastic knock for his side and surely the Royals are back in the contest with their third win of the season. On the other hand, Mumbai have suffered their fourth defeat and a yet another heartbreak for them.

Here’s what the team mentor Warne tweeted

Brief Scores

Mumbai Indians 167/7 after 20 overs (S Yadav 72, I Kishan 58; J Archer 3/22, D Kulkarni 2/32)

Rajasthan Royals 168/7 after 19.4 overs (S Samson 52, B Stokes 40, K Gowtham 33; H Pandya 2/25, J Bumrah 2/28)

Result: Rajasthan Royals won by 3 wickets

Man of the Match: Jofra Archer