Neesham, Coulter-Nile blow away Royals, who managed only 90/9 in must-win game

By PTI

SHARJAH: Jimmy Neesham and Nathan Coulter-Nile hit the ideal length on a tacky strip as Mumbai Indians’ disciplined bowling attack choked Rajasthan Royals to a meagre 90 for 9 in a do-or-die Indian Premier League match here on Tuesday.

It is the lowest T20 total by a team batting first at Sharjah.

Rohit Sharma was spot-on in deciding to bowl first and Neesham (3/12), playing his first game of the UAE leg, took the pace off his deliveries on a Sharjah track where the ball wasn’t coming onto the bat.

Coulter-Nile (4-0-14-4) was equally effective with his change-ups and hitting the hard-lengths more often than not en route one of his best IPL spells.

Neesham and Coulter-Nile cumulatively gave away only 26 runs between them in eight overs and also got a whopping seven wickets, which threw Royals out of contest.

Jasprit Bumrah (2/14) was menacing as ever with crucial wickets as it was one of MI’s closest to perfect bowling performance.

Royals were blown away in a space of four overs as they slumped from 41 for 1 in the last over of Powerplay to 50 for 5 by the time the first 10 was about to end.

There was no looking back for MI from that position.

The in-form Sanju Samson (3) tried to slash hard without reaching to the pitch of the delivery as Jayant Yadav at point took a diving catch.

Shivam Dube after the CSK heroics tried to reach at a fuller delivery on ‘fifth stump” and dragged it back while Rahul Tewatia (12 off 20 balls) in the midst of a horrendous season, tried to pull a short ball that came late and took the edge into keeper’s hands.

Neesham’s induction in place of Krunal Pandya, who has been a regular feature for a good five years now, proved to be a master-stroke as he didn’t give enough pace to manoeuvre and also bowled wicket-to wicket, not experimenting much.

Evin Lewis (24 off 19 balls) once again started in rollicking fashion but the course of Royals innings was changed when talented Yashasvi Jaiswal (12) failed to ride the bounce off a Coulter-Nile delivery to be caught behind.

Once Bumrah got rid of Lewis with an angular delivery, rest of the Royals batters fell like a pack of cards.