By BV Swagath
Rajasthan Royals won the opening game of CLT20 2013 defeating the fancy Mumbai Indians comfortably by 7 wickets at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur. It was a morale boosting win for the Rajasthan Royals after the team was in the wrong news because of the fixing allegations in IPL 6. The crowd turned out in good numbers to back the homeside who didn’t disappoint them with a comprehensive victory.
On a green pitch, Rahul Dravid’s decision of sending in Mumbai Indians to bat first paid off. Mumbai Indians struggled to post a modest total of 142 for 7. Things would have been far worse than that total as they were reduced to 43 for 4 early in the 9th over on a track that was assisting the seam bowlers. Vikramjeet Malik, the 30-year-old swing bowler from Himachal Pradesh, made best use of the slight damp track taking the early wickets of Dwayne Smith (lbw, while attempting a pull to a ball that skidded through low) and Dinesh Karthik (bowled through the gate with an inside edge by one that nipped back).
All eyes were definitely on Sachin Tendulkar whether he is still the good old Master Blaster or not. The 40-year-old showed good footwork and hand-eye co-ordination but somehow couldn’t keep up with the pace of this fast T20 game. Tendulkar got out for 15 from 17 balls, after tamely edging a drive off an outswinger from medium pacer Stuart Binny. AT Rayudu replaced him but only to be run out after a mix up with Rohit Sharma. Mumbai Indians got back into life thanks to the brilliant strokeplay of Rohit and Pollard. However, Rohit got out at the wrong moment of the innings, looking to steer Watson to thirdman but only managing a nick behind. Rohit scored 44 from 37 balls with 3 fours and 2 sixes. Pollard took over when Rohit got out at the score of 95 for 5 in the 16th over. Pollard got 42 in 36 balls with 4 fours and 2 sixes to give a decent finish to his team. Vikramjeet Malik was the pick of the bowlers for the Rajasthan Royals taking 3 for 24 in 4 overs.
Rajasthan Royals chasing a competitive target of 143 were shaken up by the fiery pace of Mitchell Johnson which they overcame smartly. Johnson consistently clocked speeds of 150 kmph. The pair of Ajnikya Rahane and Wicket Keeper Sanju Samson got through the torrid time against the new ball to take the run chase in their control. Rahane scored 33 from 31 balls before dragging a slog onto the stumps in the 14th over. The Rajasthan Royals had knocked off half of the target by then with just two wickets down.
Young Samson sealed the match with a fine knock of 54 from 47 balls with 8 fours. Samson was lucky that he wasn’t given out lbw to a pacy delivery from Johnson early in his innings. Shane Watson and Stuart Binny finished the match scoring 27 runs each.
Toss and Teams: Hosts Rajasthan Royals have won the toss and asked Mumbai Indians to bat first on a greenish pitch which is expected to have moisture because of the rain. The match has been delayed by 15 minutes because of a light shower.
Rajasthan Royals: Ajinkya Rahane, Rahul Dravid (C), Sanju Samson (WK), Shane Watson, Stuart Binny, Brad Hodge, Ashok Menaria, James Faulkner, Kevon Cooper, Vikramjeet Malik, Rahul Shukla
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (C), Dwayne Smith, Dinesh Karthik (WK), Sachin Tendulkar, Ambati Rayudu, Kieron Pollard, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Harbhajan Singh, Pragyan Ojha, Rishi Dhawan