Mumbai Indians 161 for 5 (Suryakumar 51, Varma 35, Ashwin 1-21) beat Rajasthan Royals 158 for 6 (Buttler 67, Meredith 2-24, Shokeen 2-47) with five wickets
But Mumbai started badly
In the second over, Daniel Sams gave Buttler a delay because he misjudged the trajectory of his pull. Sams ran in from the deep square and soon realized he had overshot the ball and kicked it back. But it was too late. What should have been a wicket resulted in a boundary. Jasprit Bumrah, who had knocked out Buttler four times in eight innings, missed a fifth.
Of the third, Tim David, brought in for Dewald Brewis, made a real royal mess of a simple offer at a low point. This time it was Devdutt Padikkal who got a reprieve. A rising gash burst through his hands at a deep point and went to the border. Sams, the bowler, looked on in disbelief.
Shokeen and Kartikeya make a listing
Shokeen is only in his third game. He comes across as a thinking bowler who is undeterred by batters who want to beat him. Getting rid of that fear, experienced bowlers will tell you, is half the battle won. He tricked Padikkal in flight and made him come in with his drift, as he only managed to slide a loft hit to a long range in the fifth.
Shortly afterwards, Kartikeya sprang into action. An all-variety bowler with a left arm who makes an excellent mistake, he has a deceitful carrom ball along with his other bag of tricks – including the traditional Orthodox left arm, a seam and a split finger knuckle ball – and he immediately impressed with his accuracy and control, delivering three straight overs in which he allowed only one boundary and knocked off Sanju Samson’s second ball. A break-free shot over point led to a simple flyout for David at low point.
Buttler swerves, finally
A combination of losing Samson and playing disciplined spinners on a slow surface that forced the Royals to recalibrate meant Buttler hit under 100 for much of his stroke. For a period of 32 balls between overs 9.1 and 14.4, Royals were denied a boundary. Daryl Mitchell also struggled to pick up the pace.
Buttler was 43 out of 46 with six overs to go. And he found his release in the next over when he cut the arc between long-off and deep midwicket to hit Shokeen for a run of 6,6,6,6. The fifth was a dot and the sixth was cleverly bowled around the stumps and away from his striker arc. Buttler knocked out a long and was out for a 52-ball 67. As Riyan Parag also fell fast, the Royals needed one of their lower batters to top it off. R Ashwin finished the innings with a neat eight-ball 21 while the Royals posted 158.
Rohit, Kishan fall; Surya stable
A hint of grip and bounce was enough for Ashwin to make an early entry with the ball when Rohit’s sweep found square leg in the third over. Kishan opened his score with an uppercut to six, and for a while it seemed like the lost feeling and timing that had eluded him for much of the season was returning. But he was the victim of over-aggression, as an attempt to take out Trent Boult with the short ball resulted in him pulling into Samson in the sixth.
David, Sams seal it
But there was a small twist. Both Suryakumar and Varma fell in search of big hits, leaving Mumbai with a few nervous moments. David brought out his game with great punch against spin and was helped along the way with some luck as he ran down the runs. But things got a little more nervous when Kieron Pollard fell with the side that needed 4 out of 5. Sams then punched the first ball into the stands to seal Mumbai’s victory with four balls left.
Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo