SHARJAH, UAE– Neither West Indies white-ball captain Kieron Pollard nor Trinidad & Tobago compatriot Evin Lewis had a starring role in an eight-wicket win for defending champions Mumbai Indians over Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Tuesday.
Pollard did not bat and Ishan Kishan set the stage on fire with a quick-fire 50 not out, as Mumbai chased down a modest target of 91 in 8.2 overs at the Sharjah International Cricket Stadium (SICS) to keep alive their chances of reaching the playoffs between the top four teams.
Lewis hit the top score of 24 and Pollard went wicket-less in two overs that cost nine, but Australian Nathan Coulter-Nile and New Zealander Jimmy Neesham shared seven wickets, as the Royals could only muster 90 for nine from 20 overs after they were put into bat.
Mumbai gained two points for the win that drew them level with Kolkata Knight Riders (on points) in the standings, but they are officially fifth under the tie-breaker rules, which also include net run rate.
Batsmen have found scoring freely very difficult on the slow, low SICS pitch and Mumbai’s bowlers, led by Coulter-Nile, skillfully used change of pace to undermine the Royals batting.
Coulter-Nile was the chief destroyer for Mumbai with 4-14 in four overs, New Zealander Jimmy Neesham took 3-12 from four overs and Jasprit Bumrah scalped the other two Royals wickets.
Lewis and fellow opener Yashasvi Jaiswal shared 27 for the biggest stand of the innings for the Royals, but once Coulter-Nile broke their partnership in the fourth over, the rest of the batting failed to step up.
Mumbai did not fool around in the chase and were 56 for two when the powerplay ended after six overs.
Their captain Rohit Sharma set the ball rolling, creaming a four and a six in the first over from Bangladeshi pacer Mustafizur Rahaman and added one more maximum to his account in the third over from Shreyas Gopal.
Rohit was caught at cover off Chetan Sakariya for 22 in the fourth over and Kuldip Yadav had Suryakumar Yadav caught at mid-off for 13 in the final over of the powerplay.
But Ishan, who earlier completed 1,000 IPL runs for Mumbai, cut loose, hitting five fours and three sixes from 25 balls to lead the charge and get his side over the line with 70 balls to spare.