April 19, 2024

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A clinical Rajasthan Royals romped home for a third win on the trot in the Indian Premier League with a six-wicket hammering of Mumbai Indians, whose skipper Hardik Pandya continued to be on the receiving end of fans’ anger, on Monday. After Yuzvendra Chahal (3/11) and Trent Boult (3/22) combined to suffocate Mumbai Indians with the bat, restricting them to 125/9, Riyan Parag (54 not out) churned out yet another top-drawer knock to take Rajasthan Royals to the first spot in the IPL points table. The 22-year-old Parag continued to make giant strides this season with a knock that reflected his maturity and aggression, dishing out some spectacular hits while being single-minded to not relent until his side was over the line. Parag’s knock was studded with five fours and three sixes as Royals reached 127/4 from 15.3 overs, winning with 27 balls to spare.

Meanwhile, there was no letup for Pandya who was booed on several occasions in Mumbai Indians’ first home game. It started with Pandya being booed when he took field for warm-up drills and the fans hit the player hard again when he came out for the toss.

Even though commentator and former India and Mumbai player Sanjay Manjrekar appealed to the crowd to “behave”, the boos continued until Pandya hit a few fours to bring smile back on Mumbai fans after their side was left reeling at 20/4 inside the powerplay.

Pandya top-scored with 34 for Mumbai in his bid to turn the brickbats into cheers but Rajasthan came out on top on every moment in the game, which was underlined by special bowling efforts from Chahal, Boult as well as Nandre Burger (2/32), who were all backed by excellent fielding.

Boult struck early with a three-wicket burst inside the powerplay and Chahal made life miserable for rest of the batters in the following overs to return brilliant figures 3/11 in four overs, accounting for Pandya, Tilak Varma (32) and Gerald Coetzee (4).

If Chahal suffocated the MI batters in the middle overs while stopping both Pandya and Varma in their tracks, it was Boult who ran riot in the home side’s top order, dismissing Rohit Sharma, Naman Dhir and Dewald Brevis for first-ball ducks.

The tone was set in the first over itself by Boult who rocked the Mumbai Indians twice, including the priced scalp of Rohit who was out for a golden duck.

Looking to get the feel of the ball on his bat perhaps prompted Rohit to go for one which was angled away by Boult, and an outside edge was snaffled splendidly by Rajasthan ‘keeper-skipper Sanju Samson.

Dhir (0) was guilty of walking across the wickets and failing to cover Boult’s in-swing, with the ball crashing into his pads. A DRS appeal was eventually burned since the ball tracking showed it would have clipped the leg stump.

Mumbai’s situation worsened when impact player Brevis (0) played one meekly to short third on another delivery angling away from the right-hander off Boult in the third over, with Nandre Burger (2/32) taking a sharp reverse cupped catch.

Pandya, who was booed from all parts of the ground here, walked to a similar reception but a brief fightback from him turned the negative noise into cheers.

The Mumbai skipper showed intent when he hit three fours off Burger in the sixth over, but it was Chahal who brought an end to Pandya’s resistance.

Chahal tossed one outside off-stump to make Pandya have a go at it, and the batter obliged with a big swing of the bat but the ball did not travel far enough.

The substitute fielder Rovman Powell read the elevation and speed well to cover a few yards to his right and take a fine diving catch, denying Pandya an opportunity to be a hero for his side.

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