Mumbai Indians beat Rajasthan Royals to consolidate position at top

Mumbai, May 16 (IANS) Mumbai Indians consolidated their position at the top of the table with a 14-run win over 2008 champions Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League (IPL) at the Wankhede Stadium here Wednesday.

Rajasthan Royals skipper Rahul Dravid’s decision to bowl backfired as Aditya Tare starred with a 37-ball 59 and Glenn Maxwell struck 23 off 17 balls as Mumbai Indians posted a competitive 166 for eight in 20 overs.

With Sachin Tendulkar dropped due to an injury in his left palm, Mumbai Indians included Tare while giving Maxwell another chance.

Rajasthan Royals failed to recover from the poor start 58/5 and despite valiant knocks from Stuart Binny (37) and Brad Hodge (39) lower down the order they managed 152 for seven in 20 overs.

With both the teams assured of their places in the IPL play-offs, the battle was for the top-two position since Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals were tied on 20 points each before the starts of the match.

But with the win, Mumbai Indians consolidated their position at top with 22 points followed by Super Kings (22) at second and Rajasthan Royals (20) at third.

It was Mumbai Indians’ eighth win of the season at home and they must thank their fast bowling duo of Mitchell Johnson (2/23) and Dhawal Kulkarni (2/21) for the brilliant start they gave with the new ball.

Rajasthan were put on the backfoot right in the first over after Johnson scalped Dravid (4).

Dravid tried to pull Johnson’s bouncer that went to keeper’s hand and umpire gave him out.

Dravid’s reaction was stunning as he stayed there for a few seconds and lost his cool before shouting at the umpires.

Kulkarni (2/21) dismissed Ajinkya Rahane (4) and James Faulkner (14) while Johnson got rid of the higly talented Sanju Samson (4) in the fifth over.

The top-order collapse left Rajasthan struggling at 28 for four in the sixth over.

Shane Watson (19) tried to bring some life back into the chase but his 16-ball innings, during which he hit two sixes, after Kieron Pollard took a good running of Ojha.

Watson and Pollard also exhanged some angry words from the sidelines and Dravid had to interveve to take Watson back to the dressing room.

With Rajasthan struggling at 88 for six, Binny and Hodge added 56 runs for the seventh wicket in 38 balls but it wasn’t enough.

Earlier, a brilliant half-century by Aditya Tare helped Mumbai Indians set a challenging 167-run target for Rajasthan Royals.

Maxwell departed early in the fourth over after giving Mumbai a flying start with his 17-ball 23.

Tare and Dinesh Karthik (21) consolidated the innings with their 76-run stand for the second wicket.

Rajasthan, however, pulled back things in their favour by bowling tightly in the death overs as 35 runs came off in last five overs at the cost of five wickets.

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