Mumbai Indians
The Mumbai Indians crushed the Rajasthan Royals to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Mumbai Indians beat Rajasthan Royals by eight wickets in a low-scoring Indian Premier League game in Sharjah on Tuesday thanks to outstanding bowling from Jimmy Neesham and Nathan Coulter-Nile.

Mumbai Indians defeated Rajasthan Royals by eight wickets in a low-scoring Indian Premier League match in Sharjah on Tuesday thanks to outstanding bowling from Jimmy Neesham and Nathan Coulter-Nile. Coulter-Nile (4/14) and New Zealander Neesham (3/12) took seven wickets each for 26 runs in eight overs to help Rajasthan reach 90-9 in their innings. To increase their lead to 12 points and, more importantly, to a net run rate of -0.048, the defending champions batted down the order for 8.2 overs before scoring the runs.

This was MI’s biggest win in terms of balls left in the air (70). MI knocked the Royals out of the IPL at the league stage itself for the second time by pretending to be something they weren’t.

Except for Yashasvi Jaiswal, the Royals didn’t have many good Indian players. Kishan, who had been in dismal form for much of the UAE leg, smashed five fours and three sixes in the innings.

He finished it off with a bang by hitting the top of the heap. A win on Friday against Sunrisers Hyderabad is essential for Mumbai Indians (MI), but they’d also like to see their last opponent, Kolkata Knight Riders (12 points, NRR +0.294), lose on Thursday.

The Mumbai Indians will know how much they need to score in the final day if KKR wins and moves up to 14 points.

When it counted, Neesham and Coulter-Nile held the Royals to their lowest T20 total ever in Sharjah by hitting the perfect length on the tacky strip.

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

Coulter-change-ups Nile’s and hard-lengths were equally effective as he went on one of his best IPL spells.

Together, Neesham and Coulter-Nile allowed only 26 runs in eight overs, taking seven wickets in the process, putting Royals out of the game.

When it came to crucial wickets, Jasprit Bumrah (2/14) was as menacing as ever. It was one of MI’s closest-ever bowling performances. In just four overs, the Royals went from 41 for 1 at the end of the Powerplay to 50 for 5 as the first ten overs came to a close.

From that point on, MI had no intention of looking back. At a point, Jayant Yadav dived to catch the in-form Sanju Samson (3), who tried to slash hard but failed to reach the pitch of the delivery.

Rahul Tewatia (12 off 20 balls) in the middle of an awful season tried to pull a short ball that came late and took the edge into the keeper’s hands after Shivam Dube’s heroics on “fifth stump.”

Instead of Krunal Pandya, who has been an important part of the team for five years, Neesham’s inclusion was a brilliant move because he didn’t bowl with much movement and also didn’t experiment much with the wickets he bowled.

When talented Yashasvi Jaiswal (12) couldn’t ride the bounce of an off-speed Coulter-Nile delivery, the course of the Royals’ innings was altered dramatically.

The rest of the Royals batters crumbled after Bumrah struck out Lewis with an angular delivery.

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