Match Report – MI vs RR 14th Match, April 01, 2024

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Hardik Pandya’s return to the Wankhede Stadium as Mumbai Indians captain was no fairytale as the five-time champions lost their third game in a row, this time with 27 balls to spare. Rajasthan Royals – led by superb performances from Trent Boult, Yuzvendra Chahal and Riyan Parag – gave them a thorough hammering to move to No. 1 on the points table with a hat-trick of victories.

Boult left Mumbai gasping in the opening spell of the match when he dismissed Rohit Sharma, Naman Dhir and Dewald Drevis for first-ball ducks. His 3 for 22 was only matched by the 3 for 11 taken by Chahal, who controlled the middle overs to ensure Mumbai did not stage a batting comeback.

Chasing 126, Parag shepherded Royals’ chase and dragged them out of some early trouble. He finished the game with six, six and four to stay unbeaten on 54 to take the No. 1 spot on the orange cap leaderboard.

Boult’s jolt

Former Mumbai captain Rohit was supposed to be the crowd favourite at this venue, but his time with the bat lasted only one ball when Boult got a ball to swing away from the right-hand batter and edge it behind. Next ball, Boult swung it the other way, getting a full ball to nip into Dhir.

With two wickets gone inside the game’s first six balls, Mumbai brought in Impact Player Brevis in the second over itself, but he too fell prey to the ball angling across, edging it to Nandre Burger at short third.

With three wickets in his first eight deliveries of the game, Boult gave Royals an advantage that they never let go. He finished with 3 for 22.

Scintillating Chahal

After Boult’s searing opening spell, fellow left-arm seamer Burger got in on the action. Playing as a replacement for the injured Sandeep Sharma, Burger came around the wicket to pick off Ishan Kishan with a length ball that angled away and took his edge.

With Mumbai 20 for 4 in 3.3 overs, the No. 5 Tilak Verma and the No. 6 Hardik then aimed to build a recovery for the hosts, almost succeeding with a 56-run fifth-wicket stand, but Chahal’s dismissals of both batters snuffed out any chance of a comeback.

After hitting six boundaries early in his innings, Hardik fell on 34 when he holed out at mid-on trying to hit Chahal. Tilak was sent packing on 32 soon after when Chahal’s googly was edged to R Ashwin at short third.

Chahal would finish his spell with the wicket of Gerald Coetzee too late in the first innings. In all, sixteen of Chahal’s 24 deliveries were dots, and his four-over spell ended with an economy of only 2.75.

A late wicket for Avesh Khan and a second scalp for Burger ensured Mumbai finished on 125, a score too low on a surface that is traditionally batting-friendly.

Full report to follow

Sreshth Shah is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @sreshthx

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