Chris Morris took 1-34 as the Rajasthan Royals beat the Mumbai Indians by seven wickets in an IPL game in Ahmedabad on Tuesday.
A well-constructed 79 by Aussie Steve Smith helped the Royals made it three wins in three matches and climbed to the top of the IPL standings.
RR needed to rewrite history as no team had successfully chased a target of more than 150 at the venue. They set about their run-chase in a calculated manner; the openers Ajinkya Rahane and Sanju Samson (17) added 28 runs at run-a-ball before the latter was dismissed by R Vinay Kumar.
Rahane was then involved in a 64-run partnership with skipper Smith; the pair batted smartly, turning the strike over consistently, ensuring the scoreboard ticked over all the time and the required rate was kept in check. In 7.1 overs after the field restrictions were relaxed, the pair added 50 runs, finding the boundary only thrice.
Rahane attempted to force the pace against leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal and got away on one occasion when Unmukt Chand put down a difficult catch. But his second attempt turned fatal as he picked out Anderson at long off; he made 46 from 39 balls and was involved in a 64-run partnership with his captain.
Teenager Deepak Hooda struck a couple of meaty blows before losing his leg stump to Lasith Malinga. Smith, who is going through a purple patch, made sure he didn’t fritter away his start, and chose the day to score his first half century in the IPL. He ran between the wickets like a mare – often converting ones to twos and twos to threes – apart from using some fancy footwork and playing some stunning shots to pick up boundaries. He remained unbeaten on 79 (made from 53 balls) as Faulkner picked up a single off the first ball of the final over to see RR home.
For MI, who suffered their third successive defeat, R Vinay Kumar’s impressive first spell of 3-0-13-1 went in vain. J Suchith and Corey Anderson were the other economical bowlers, while Malinga and Shreyas Gopal, who came in for severe punishment, were the other wicket-takers.