Indian Premier League: Mumbai Indians crush Rajasthan Royals to keep play-off hopes alive
|Indian Premier League, Sharjah:|
|Rajasthan Royals 90-9 (20 overs): Lewis 24 (19); Coulter-Nil 4-14, Neesham 3-12, Bumrah 2-14|
|Mumbai Indians 94-2 (8.2 overs): Kishan 50 * (25), Rohit 22 (13)|
|Mumbai Indians won by eight wickets|
Indian champions Mumbai kept their hopes up of reaching the Indian Premier League play-offs with a landslide eight-wicket victory over the Rajasthan Royals.
Nathan Coulter-Nile (4-14) and Jimmy Neesham (3-12) played with the ball as the Royals only scored 90-9 on 20 overs.
Ishan Kishan hit 50 of 25 as Mumbai hit the target in just 8.2 overs.
The five-time winners will take fourth place if they beat the Sunrisers on Friday and the Royals beat the Kolkata Knight Riders on Thursday.
The Royals drop to seventh in the standings and while a top-four spot isn’t mathematically impossible, their much lower race rate almost puts an end to their qualifying hopes.
The Delhi Capitals, Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore are all guaranteed a place in the play-offs.
Neesham and Coulter-Nile destroy the Royals
After being batted in Sharjah, the Royals threw themselves into an aviator and reached 21-0 after two overs, before everything got out of hand.
The Royals – who are still on the hunt for their first IPL trophy since winning the inaugural competition in 2008 – were unable to cope with a fiery attack from Mumbai led by the impressive Coulter-Nile and Neesham.
Australian Coulter-Nile made the initial breakthrough to ward off form Yashasvi Jaiswal (12 of 9) and also took the wickets off Glenn Phillips – who made just four – and David Miller (15 of 23).
The couturier played with discipline and precision, and such was the regularity of the wickets he barely celebrated when he took his fourth wicket to fire Chetan Sakariya for six.
Neesham’s selection paid off instantly for Mumbai as the New Zealand crimper fired Royals captain Sanju Samson for just three with his first ball.
Neesham then beat Shivam Dube for three in a row and capped off a fine display by brushing aside Rahul Tewatia (12 of 20) on the last ball of his spell.
As the Royals head to the final, former England all-rounder Ravi Bopara said the writing was already on the wall.
“It looks like they’ve already accepted defeat,” Bopara said in the BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra commentary.
Kishan is wasting no time
The Mumbai Indians – the most decorated team in IPL history – were right to prove they had lost their previous three games.
Despite a low total to chase, captain Rohit Sharma got the upper hand early on, hitting 14 against Mustafizur Rahman, including a delicious six comebacks.
Rohit’s 22-ball ended when he chipped the crimper straight to the point, but fellow opener Ishan Kishan continued the assault.
Mumbai took advantage of an opportunity to win in record time and improve their net success rate, reaching 48-1 after five overs.
Kishan hit Sakariya for six straight in the eighth, then crossed the line again with a Mustafizur six to hit the winning points – and hit his 50 – in style.