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Mumbai edge Rajasthan by 14 runs to seal top 2 finish

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The Mumbai Indians beat the Rajasthan Royals by 14 runs in an entertaining contest at the Wankhede Stadium that guarantees them a place in the qualifier, relegating the losing side in all likelihood to the eliminator barring a dramatic final group game for either them or the Chennai Super Kings. The match itself had some major momentum swings, with Rajasthan delighted with their efforts with the ball, but having a poor start before launching a terrific come back only to fall short in the end.

Two well balanced sides with an equal number of points collided against each other at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai on Wednesday evening with one being the formidable Mumbai Indians and the other the sensational Rajasthan Royals. Despite both teams having already confirmed a spot among the top four, it was important for each of them to win to ensure that they went into the Qualifier instead of the Eliminator round in the playoffs.

In what was one of the high profile matches of the season, the captains Rahul Dravid for RR and Rohit Sharma for MI turned out for the toss, which went the way of the Rajasthan Royals who decided to field. Sachin Tendulkar missed out the game due to an injury and was replaced by Aditya Tare, while Dwayne Smith was dropped for Glenn Maxwell. Rajasthan meanwhile came up with a couple of changes of their own, bringing in Ankeet Chavan and Pravin Tambe for Siddarth Trivedi and S Sreesanth.

Glenn Maxwell gave Mumbai an electric start, launching 3 balls into orbit after having scored just 1 from the first 7 balls he faced. He fell for 23 but Tendulkar's replacement Aditya Tare took over and made one feel that he was ready for the big time. The wicketkeeper batsman made an exceptional 59 from just 37 balls to top score for Mumbai.

Mumbai looked poised to score in excess of 180-190 at one stage, but the Rajasthan Royals pulled things back in the last few overs to keep the score down to a very manageable 166. Mumbai lost wickets in a bunch towards the end, and if it wasn't for an invaluable 15 from Harbhajan Singh, may have well finished on the losing side.

Rajasthan's chase in contrast saw them collapse to 28-4 with Dravid getting a raw decision first up, given caught behind off a bouncer that was nowhere near the bat. The James Faulkner at no.3 experiment continued to fail, as did sending Sanju Samson ahead of Shane Watson. Even Rahane, who had been deprived of the strike fell for a negligible score, leaving the game looking all but over.

Watson and Binny did the early damage repair, but when the former fell for 19 and Dishant Yagnik for 10, the Royals looked dead and buried at 88-6. However, the Royals do bat deep and Brad Hodge (39) and Binny (37*) kept their team in the hunt till some magnificent death bowling by Lasith Malinga won Mumbai the game.

The Rajasthan Royals could dictate who their eliminator opponents are likely to be by winning against the Sunrisers Hyderabad on Friday, while the Mumbai Indians can test their bench strength in their final game of the group stage against the Kings XI Punjab on Saturday.


MI: D Karthik(wk), A Tare, R Sharma(c), G Maxwell, K Pollard, A Rayudu, H Singh, M Johnson, D Kulakarni, L Malinga, P Ojha.

RR: R Dravid(c), A Rahane, S Watson, S Samson, S Binny, B Hodge, D Yagnik(wk), K Cooper, J Faulkner, A Chavan, P Tambe.

Mini Scorecard:

Mumbai Indians 166-8 (20 overs, 8.30rpo)

A Tare 59(37) S Watson 2-30

G Maxwell 23(17) J Faulkner 2-32

Rajasthan Royals 152-7 (20 overs, 7.60rpo)

S Binny 37(29) D Kulkarni 2-21

B Hodge 39(27) M Johnson 2-23

Mumbai Indians win by 14 runs