Steve Smith (59 not out) played a captain's knock as Rajasthan Royals (RR) kept their play-off hopes alive after defeating Mumbai Indians (MI) by 5 wickets in their Indian Premier League (IPL) tie at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium here on Saturday.
Despite wickets falling at regular intervals for Rajasthan, Smith kept one end intact and ensured that his team crossed the line with five balls to spare. Smith's innings was laced with five boundaries and a six.
Sanju Samson and Riyan Parag, too, supported their skipper with useful knocks of 35 and 43, respectively.
Chasing a modest target of 162, the hosts started on a positive note, scoring 31 runs in the first three overs before Rahul Chahar drew the first blood for Mumbai as the leg-spinner cut short opener Ajinkya Rahane's (12) stay in the fourth over.
Samson and Smith were then involved in a 37-run second wicket partnership before Chahar struck again in the eighth over to pack back the former, leaving Rajasthan at 76/2. Four balls later, Chahar added more misery to the Rajasthan camp by dismissing Ben Stokes (0).
Smith was then joined by Parag and the duo denied Mumbai from making any further inroads as they both propelled Rajasthan past the 100-run mark in 11.1 overs.
The hosts were comfortably placed at 137/3 in 16 overs and it seemed the two will steer their side to victory. However, Parag fell short of the crease while converting a single and had to depart in the 18th over.
Jasprit Bumrah then trapped Ashton Turner (0) in front of the wicket with Rajasthan still needing 9 runs off the last 11 balls. But Smith ensured that there were no further hiccups as he steered Rajasthan to a much-needed victory.
For Mumbai, Chahar was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 3/29 while Bumrah bagged one wicket.
Earlier, opener Quinton de Kock's scintillating 65-run knock helped Mumbai put up 161/5.
Apart from de Kock, Suryakumar Yadav chipped in with a valuable 34 while Shreyas Gopal once again starred with the ball for Rajasthan, conceding just 21 runs from his four overs besides picking up two wickets.
Put in to bat first, the visitors received an early jolt as Gopal dismissed Rohit Sharma (5) in the third over. de Kock was then joined by Yadav and the two helped Mumbai past the 50-run mark in 6.4 overs.
The duo were involved in a crucial 97-run partnership with de Kock helping himself to a stroke-filled half-century before Stuart Binny came up with the much-needed breakthrough for the home side. A top-edge from Yadav went straight to deep backward square-leg where Dhawal Kulkarni took a fine catch to break the partnership.
Gopal claimed his second wicket soon as de Kock miscued a googly, holing out to Stokes at long-on in the process.
Jaydev Unadkat then sent back Kieron Pollard, who fell cheaply after managing to contribute just seven runs with Mumbai's scorecard reading 124/4.
Hardik Pandya once again played a 15-ball 23-run cameo while Ben Cutting chipped in with 13 runs as Mumbai reached a fighting total.
Rajasthan Royals 162/5 in 19.1 overs (Steve Smith 59 not out, Riyan Parag 43; Rahul Chahar 3/29) beat Mumbai Indians 161/5 (Quinton de Kock 65, Suryakumar Yadav 34; Shreyas Gopal 2/21) by 5 wickets.
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