The Mumbai Indians kept their wafer-thin hopes of defending their Indian Premier League crown alive with a comprehensive 25-run win over the Rajasthan Royals in Ahmedabad.
Batting first, the Indians posted 178-3 in their 20 overs, buoyed by a confident opening stand between Mike Hussey and Lendl Simmons.
In response, the Royals struggled to get going, with Mumbai exemplary in the field.
Nowhere was that tenacity better summed up than by Kieron Pollard's catch to remove Kevon Cooper, a one-handed snaffle on the rope, followed by a throw into the air and a second catch back in the field of play.
|Mumbai Indians Scorecard|
|Michael Hussey||c Kevon Cooper b Ankit Sharma||56||39||143.58||3||2|
|Lendl Simmons||c Kevon Cooper b Ankit Sharma||62||51||121.56||6||2|
|Kieron Pollard||NOT OUT||14||12||116.66||0||1|
|Rohit Sharma||run out (James Faulkner)||40||19||210.52||3||4|
|EXTRAS||(nb 1, w 2, lb 3)||6|
|TOTAL||(3 wickets; 20 overs)||178|
Mumbai have suffered this season—going into this match they had just three wins in their first 10 games—but more complete performances with bat and ball such as this one and they will push hard for that final berth in the play-offs.
Hussey, back in the team and at the top of the order after a dreadful start to the tournament, was a man transformed, playing within his comfort zone and exploiting the leg side as he struck 56 from 39 balls in an opening stand of 120. Simmons, his opening partner, paced his own 62 skilfully.
They departed within three balls of one another, threatening to drain the momentum out of their innings. But though Pollard struggled to get going, captain Rohit Sharma was in fine touch.
He found four maximums late on to add 40 from just 19 balls, and though he was run out from the final delivery, the damage was already done.
Rajasthan have a record of chasing down some imposing scores this year, but they simply never got to grips with the chase.
|Rajsthan Royals Scorecard|
|Karun Nair||c Krishmar Santokie b Harbhajan Singh||48||24||200.00||4||3|
|Unmukt Chand||c Michael Hussey b Pragyan Ojha||2||9||22.22||0||0|
|Shane Watson||c Ambati Rayudu b Pragyan Ojha||5||6||83.33||1||0|
|Sanju Samson||c Ambati Rayudu b Krishmar Santokie||2||5||40.00||0||0|
|Kevon Cooper||c Kieron Pollard b Harbhajan Singh||5||8||62.50||0||0|
|Ankit Sharma||c Ambati Rayudu b Shreyas Gopal||4||3||133.33||0||0|
|Stuart Binny||st Aditya Tare b Shreyas Gopal||2||10||20.00||0||0|
|Brad Hodge||c Rohit Sharma b Krishmar Santokie||40||30||133.33||0||3|
|James Faulkner||NOT OUT||31||21||147.61||1||2|
|Rajat Bhatia||NOT OUT||6||4||150.00||1||0|
|EXTRAS||(w 7, lb 1)||8|
|TOTAL||(8 wickets; 20 overs)||153||TOTAL|
Karun Nair scored freely at the top of the order, but the rest of the recognised batsmen made a string of single-figure scores before trudging back to the changing rooms.
When Nair fell, the Royals were 75-7 and staring at a huge defeat.
Brad Hodge and James Faulkner batted in reserve, but their lusty hitting came too late, only turning a heavy defeat into a narrow one.