At the D.Y. Patil Stadium, fourteen summers ago, Rajasthan Royals had created history by clinching its first and only Indian Premier League title, under the leadership of Australian legend Shane Warne.
And on Saturday, ahead of its fixture against Mumbai Indians at the same venue, Royals celebrated the life and contributions of Warne, who passed away in Thailand in early March this year.
The franchise chronicled Warne’s journey through a short film and Jos Buttler paid tribute to the ‘first Royal’ by hammering a half-century (67, 52b, 5×4, 4×6) and guiding the team to 158 for six.
However, it was Mumbai Indians’ day out as Suryakumar Yadav’s 51 (39b, 5×4, 2×6) and Tilak Varma’s 35 off 30 guided the team to a five-wicket win – its first victory of the season.
Chasing a target of 159, Mumbai captain Rohit Sharma could score just two runs before offering a catch to Daryl Mitchell off a R. Ashwin delivery. Ishan Kishan looked promising with four fours and a six, but a catch to Sanju Samson off a Trent Boult delivery, curtailed his stay at the crease for just 26 runs.
With the team struggling at 41 for two, Suryakumar and Varma rose to the occasion and forged an 81-run stand for the third wicket. Suryakumar batted with his left thumb heavily wrapped in gauze tape after a direct throw hit him on the thumb. Mumbai was cruising at 113-2 in 15 overs when Suryakumar was caught by Riyan Parag off Yuzvendra Chahal, and Varma, too, departed soon.
But Tim David kept the team in the hunt with an unbeaten 20. With four needed from the final over, Kieron Pollard was caught in the first ball off Kuldeep Sen. However, Daniel Sams sealed the deal with a six.
Earlier, it was a slow start for Royals as Buttler and Devdutt Padikkal could only score 26 runs in 4.2 overs before Pollard caught Padikkal off a Hrithik Shokeen delivery.
After his departure, Buttler rebuilt with Sanju Samson, who hit a couple of sixes to Shokeen in the seventh over before offering a catch to David at deep point off debutant Kartikeya Singh’s first over. However, Buttler fought back with four consecutive sixes off Shokeen in the 16th over and brought up his half-century. Shokeen struck on the last delivery of his over, tempting Buttler to offer a catch to Suryakumar at long-off.
Ashwin came up with a quickfire 21 off nine deliveries, but in the end, that was not enough.