Mumbai win to keep play off hopes alive

Australia

The Mumbai Indians kept their Indian Premier League title defence alive on Monday as they beat a below-par Rajasthan Royals side by 25 runs, defending the 178 for three they posted quite easily.

The Mumbai Indians kept their Indian Premier League title defence alive on Monday as they beat a below-par Rajasthan Royals side by 25 runs, defending the 178 for three they posted quite easily.

Rajasthan, already seemingly into the play-offs but not as safely as they'd have liked, gave nearly half the side an overhaul and named some bench players, and this proved their downfall as they finished on 153 for eight.

Mumbai won the toss and chose to bat first, looking to exploit the weakened Royals attack. Opener Mike Hussey, in a rare game for him this season, and Lendl Simmons put on the side's first century opening stand in nearly two years.

The Australia legend and his West Indies partner made 120 runs in 14.3 overs, with both men record half centuries. Hussey's came off 32 balls while Simmons was more sedate, using 43 deliveries for his fifty.

Both batsmen departed in the same over, with Simmons first caught for 56 by Kevon Cooper off Ankit Sharma, before Hussey fell in exactly the same way three balls later. This left Rohit Sharma to finish the job.

The India opener pushed the score to defendable levels when he made 40 off 19 balls, including four sixes, before being run out by James Faulkner off the final ball of the innings.

Rajasthan's chase got off to a poor start when Unmukt Chand and Shane Watson were both bagged for single figures by Pragyan Ojha. In fact, only one of the top seven batsmen managed to reach double figures.

The Mumbai bowling was excellent all round, with Ojha, Krishmar Santokie, Harbhajan Singh and Shreyas Gopal taking two wickets each. Only Karun Nair was able to resist early on, making 48 off 24 balls.

The tail did try to wag slightly, with Brad Hodge coming in at eight and scoring 40, and Faulkner making 31, but it was far too little too late and Hodge wasn't given nearly enough time to rescue the knock.

The highlight of the game was not significant in terms of the result, but was made for T20 cricket. Pollard took an amazing catch to get rid of Cooper, making two grabs at it look spectacular. He caught it on the ropes with one hand, realised he was going over so chucked it away, made a quick turn and then took the second catch diving forward.

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