Mumbai Indians survived a brutal assault by Yusuf Pathan, who struck a belligerent 37-ball century, to record a thrilling four-run victory over Rajasthan Royals in their opening match of the Indian Premier League here today.

Yusuf slammed an astonishing nine sixes and eight fours while making exactly 100 runs to bring the Royals to the doorstep of a brilliant victory after Mumbai Indians made 212 for six. But after his dismissal, the Royals were stopped in their tracks.

Yusuf was run out brilliantly by R. Satish whom he had treated with utter disdain during his superb 107-run partnership with the unheralded Paras Dogra (41 off 29 balls) for the fifth wicket to raise visions of a great come-from-behind victory.

But the marauder from Baroda was run out in the first ball of the 18th over and the rest of the batting order could not finish the match.

Needing 12 runs in the last over bowled by Lasith Malinga, the Royals ended at 208 for seven after losing Dogra and Amit Uniyal in the first two balls.

Dmitry Mascarenhas and captain Shane Warne could not take their team home.

Earlier, fine half centuries from Ambati Rayudu (55) and Saurabh Tiwary (53) following a sound start piloted Mumbai Indians to their highest-ever IPL total.

Guntur-born Rayudu, an ICL returnee, cracked 55 in 33 balls studded with 6 fours and 2 sixes while Jamshedpur-born Saurabh Tiwary slammed a breezy 53 in the same number of balls, studded with 4 fours and two sixes.

The fourth wicket duo put on 110 runs in only 63 balls to lift Mumbai Indians from 70 for three to 180 for four.

The duo’s late order hitting, after the good start given by openers Sanath Jayasuriya (23) and skipper Sachin Tendulkar (17) helped the home team end up with a 200-plus total amidst a carnival atmosphere inside the famed Brabourne Stadium.

Left-handed Sri Lankan veteran Jayasuriya set the scorching run-scoring pace by lofting Dmitri Mascarenhas for three fours in the first over, two of them lofted shots in typical fashion over covers.

The Royals commenced their chase to overhaul the record Mumbai Indians score on the wrong note as they lost opener Swapnil Asnodkar in the second ball to a misunderstanding with Graeme Smith.

Smith, who had to return home early at the end of the Test series against India after a finger injury, looked in good touch and was especially severe on Zaheer Khan by thumping the left arm pace bowler for three fours in his second over, two of them to the straight field.

Smith and wicket keeper Naman Ojha took the score to 38 when the latter departed caught in the deep off the first ball from left arm spinner Murtuza Ali for 12.

Smith fell two runs later, deceived by a slower ball from Satish who anticipated the catch and caught him diving to his left, a brilliant effort.

Abhishek Jhunjhunwala and Yusuf Pathan forged a small stand of 26 when the former, who stepped out and lofted Murtuza over the straight field once, got himself yorked by Lasith Malinga.

At 66 for 4 in the tenth over things did not look good for the visiting side but then Yusuf took apart Murtuza and Satish with his audacious shots to race to his fifty which was appreciated by the partisan crowd thoroughly.

The Baroda batsman slammed the slow left arm bowler for three consecutive sixes, two of those over long on, in one over that yielded 19 runs and then turned his attention on Satish who was carted for 26 runs in the 11th over as Pathan went berserk.

After slamming Sathish for a six and a four in consecutive balls, the tall batsman hoisted the bowler high to the long on fence where Ryan McLaren caught the ball but also touched the boundary rope to signal another six.

The last ball of the over was disdainfully dispatched to the backward square leg fence.

Pathan’s brilliantly executed shots brought down the asking rate drastically so that at the end of the 13th over the score read 131 for four after the all rounder struck McLaren for three fours in that over.

Pathan continued his spell—binding batting display and struck Sanath Jayasuriya, when the Sri Lanka veteran was introduced late into the attack, for two sixes and a four to leapfrog to his century in an astonishing 37 balls.

It consisted of a whopping eight sixes and nine fours and was one of the most brutal assaults in three seasons of the T20 League.

Only a run-out looked capable of stopping the marauder and Satish came up with another brilliant fielding effort to catch him short of the crease on his follow-through as Pathan backed too far to a possible run.

But Paras Dogra, the HP batsman, had other ideas and brought the asking rate down further to manageable level by slamming the hapless Satish for 21 runs in that over with the help of two sixes and as many fours.

At the end of the 18th over, the Royals needed 19 in two overs which became 12 in the last after Zaheer Khan bowled a good penultimate over.

The Royals lost the wickets of Dogra, run out, and Uniyal, who dragged the ball on to his stumps, in the first two balls of Malinga who then bowled sensibly to stop the Royals victory charge.

Khan ended up with 0 for 27 and Malinga 2 for 22 while the other bowlers were very expensive, especially Satish who gave away 51 runs for the important wicket of Smith.

Brief scores:

Mumbai Indians:

Sanath Jayasuriya lbw b Uniyal 23, Sachin Tendulkar lbw b Mascarenhas 17, Aditya Tare c Warne b Mascarenhas 23, Saurabh Tiwary c Ojha b Tait 53, Ambati Rayudu c Dogra b Uniyal 55, Rajagopal Sathish run out (Ojha) 6, Harbhajan Singh retired hurt 8, Ryan McLaren not out 11, Zaheer Khan not out 0

Extras (LB 3, W 13) 16

Total (for six wickets in 20 overs) 212

Fall of wickets: 1-38, 2-69, 3-70, 4-180, 5-191, 6-192, 6-211

Bowling: Dimitri Mascarenhas 4-0-34-2, Shaun Tait 4-0-46-1, Kamran Khan 1-0-10-0, Amit Uniyal 4-0-41-2, Shane Warne 3-0-29-0, Abhishek Jhunjhunwala 2-0-27-0, Yusuf Pathan 2-0-22-0.

Rajasthan Royals: G Smith c & b Sathish 26, S Asnodkar run out 0, N Ojha c Khan b Murtaza 12, A Jhunjhunwala b Malinga 14, Y Pathan run out 100, P Dogra run out 41, D Mascarenhas not out 9, A Uniyal b Malinga 0, S Warne not out 1

Extras: (W—5) 5

Total: (for 7 wkts in 20 overs) 208

Fall of wickets: 1—0, 2—38, 3—40, 4—66, 5—173, 6—201, 7—201.

Bowling: Z Khan 4-0-27-0, R McLaren 4-0-43-0, L Malinga 4-0-22-2, A Murtaza 4-0-46-1, R Sathish 3-0-51-1, S Jayasuriya 1-0-19-0.


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