Sachin Tendulkar’s absence appeared to have an unsettling effect on the Mumbai Indians batsmen, the exception being newcomer Aditya Tare, who top-scored with a stroke-filled half-century. The bowlers, taking a cue from the young opener, choked the chase of Rajasthan Royals, making a modest 166 appear imposing.
RR went down fighting, allowing a pumped up home team to win by 14 runs and go to the top of the table again.
Dravid came off second best at the end of a hard-fought contest, walked back in fury at an umpiring decision and then watched his teammates wilt in the heat of competition on a slow Wankhede surface.
Mitchell Johnson dented Sanju Vishwanadh’s confidence, Dhawal Kulkarni preyed on Ajinkya Rahane’s difficulty in forcing the pace and Pragyan Ojha baited Shane Watson with a long hop.
Stuart Binny’s defiant, unbeaten 37 off 29 and Brad Hodge firing away (39 off 27) closed down the chase to 23 in the 20th over from Lasith Malinga. As an experienced hand of a well-oiled bowling unit, the Lankan played his part.
Johnson (two for 23) and Kulkarni (two for 21) were miserly, giving away nothing.
Johnson got a ball to climb on the Rajasthan Royals skipper, whose attempted pull came late and looked horrified at being adjudged caught behind by Dinesh Karthik. Dravid went back shaking his head in shock at the verdict by Sudhir Asnani.
Watson’s appearance at the crease, in the wake off Sanju Viswanath’s soft dismissal, prompted Kieron Pollard to test the all-rounder’s composure with exchange of words. The umpires spoke to captain Rohit Sharma and the fielder to bring the situation under control.
Kulkarni pumped his fists and roared as Rahane walked past him to the dugout. The visitors chase had come apart even before the Powerplay (28-4 in 5.4 overs).
Malinga broke into a mean smile at Watson’s aggressive reaction to short balls, swivelling to pull the ball over fine-leg for back to back sixes. RR needed more stunning hits after managing only 29 in the first six overs andlosing four heavyweights.
Left-arm spinner Ojha baited the big-hitting Aussie with a long hop and Pollard celebrated after taking the catch.
Earlier, Tare’s bold batting at the start (59 off 37 balls) failed to inspire the big-hitters down the line. Both Karthik and Rohit flattered to deceive. The mighty Pollard was run-out at the non-striker’s end, done in by Kevon Cooper’s reflexes.
Harbhajan chanced his arm at the end as 34 came off the last five overs and MI scrambled to a fighting 166.
Mumbai Indians: Glenn Maxwell lbw b Watson 23 (17b, 3x6), Aditya Tare c Watson b Cooper 59 (37b, 8x4, 1x6), Dinesh Karthik c Vishwanadh b Tambe 21 (21b, 3x4), Rohit Sharma c Watson b Faulkner 14 (9b, 2x4), Kieron Pollard (run out) 17 (14b, 1x4, 1x6), Ambati Rayudu c Vishwanadh b Watson 7 (7b), Harbhajan Singh (not out) 15 (7b, 1x4, 1x6), Mitchell Johnson c Hodge b Faulkner 2 (7b), Lasith Malinga (run out) 1 (1b); Extras (w-4, lb-3): 7; Total (for eight wkts. in 20 overs): 166.
Fall of wickets: 1-25 (Maxwell), 2-101 (Karthik), 3-108 (Tare), 4-138 (Rohit), 5-144 (Pollard), 6-151 (Rayudu), 7-164 (Johnson), 8-166 (Malinga).
Rajasthan Royals bowling: Ankit Chavan 3-0-25-0, James Faulkner 4-0-32-2, Shane Watson 4-0-30-2, Stuart Binny 1-0-11-0, Pravin Tambe 4-0-38-1, Kevon Cooper 4-0-27-1.
Rajasthan Royals: Rahul Dravid c Karthik b Johnson 4 (5b, 1x4), Ajinkya Rahane c Malinga b Kulkarni 4 (8b), James Faulkner c Maxwell b Kulkarni 12 (13b, 2x4), Sanju Viswanath c Ojha b Johnson 4 (4b, 1x4), Shane Watson c Pollard b Ojha 19 (16b, 2x6), Stuart Binny not out 37 (29b, 3x4, 1x6), Dishant Yagnik b Harbhajan 10 (14b, 1x4), Brad Hodge lbw b Malinga 39 (27b, 7x4), Kevon Cooper not out 7 (4b, 1x6); Extras (lb-4, b-4, w-8): 16; Total (for seven wkts. in 20 overs): 152.
Fall of wickets: 1-5 (Dravid), 2-22 (Faulkner), 3-26 (Sanju), 4-28 (Rahane), 5-58 (Watson), 6-88 (Yagnik), 7-144 (Hodge).
Mumbai Indians bowling: Mitchell Johnson 4-0-23-2, Dhawal Kulkarni 4-0-21-2, Harbhajan Singh 4-0-29-1, Lasith Malinga 4-0-35-1, Pragyan Ojha 4-0-36-1.
Man-of-the-match: Aditya Tare.