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Recent Match Report – Royals vs Mumbai 44th Match 2022

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Mumbai Indians 161 for 5 (Suryakumar 51, Varma 35, Ashwin 1-21) beat Rajasthan Royals 158 for 6 (Buttler 67, Meredith 2-24, Shokeen 2-47) by five wickets

Nine games in, Mumbai Indians have their first win of IPL 2022, giving a perfect 35th birthday gift for the captain Rohit Sharma. That the win came against Rajasthan Royals, touted to go all the way on current form, should come as a massive boost. That it was set up nicely by a debutant who kept the marauding Jos Buttler honest for much of his knock, must be encouraging.

But Mumbai started poorly

In the second over, Daniel Sams reprieved Buttler as he misjudged the trajectory of his pull. Sams ran in from deep square and quickly realised he had overrun the ball and back-pedaled. But it was too late. What should’ve been a wicket resulted in a boundary. Jasprit Bumrah, who had dismissed Buttler four times in eight innings, missed out on a fifth.

Off the third, Tim David, brought in for Dewald Brewis, made a right royal mess of a straightforward offering at deep point. This time, it was Devdutt Padikkal who was reprieved. An uppish cut burst through his hands at deep point and went to the boundary. Sams, the bowler, looked on in disbelief.

Shokeen and Kartikeya make an entry

Bumrah. Ishan Kishan. Tilak Varma. Rahul Chahar. Hardik Pandya. Krunal Pandya – in no order, these are some names Mumbai have unearthed over the years through their vast scouting network. Hrithik Shokeen, the offspinner, and Kumar Kartikeya, the left-arm spinner, are the latest entrants to the uncapped club.

Shokeen is in only his third game. He comes across as a thinking bowler who isn’t deterred by batters looking to take him on. Getting rid of that fear, experienced bowlers will tell you, is half the battle won. He deceived Padikkal in flight and did him in with his drift as he only managed to skew a lofted hit to long-off in the fifth.

Soon after, Kartikeya got into the act. A left-arm all-variety bowler who slips in an excellent wrong’un, he has a deceptive carrom ball along with his other bag of tricks – including the traditional left-arm orthodox, a seam-up and a split-finger knuckleball – and he impressed with his accuracy and control straightaway, delivering three straight overs in which he conceded just one boundary and dismissed Sanju Samson second ball. A break-free shot over point led to a simple catch for David at deep point.

Buttler tees off, finally

A combination of losing Samson and playing disciplined spinners on a slow surface that forced Royals to recalibrate meant Buttler struck at less than 100 for much of his knock. For a period of 32 balls between overs 9.1 and 14.4, Royals were denied a boundary. Daryl Mitchell too struggled to up the pace.

Buttler was on 43 off 46 with six overs left. And he found his release in the following over when he peppered the arc between long-off and deep midwicket to hit Shokeen for a sequence of 6,6,6,6. The fifth was a dot and the sixth was cleverly bowled from around the stumps and away from his hitting arc. Buttler picked out long-off and was out for a 52-ball 67. With Riyan Parag also falling quickly, Royals needed one of their lower-order batters to finish things off. R Ashwin polished off the innings with a neat eight-ball 21 as Royals posted 158.

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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