Ahmedabad - A well-constructed 79 by Australian Steve Smith has helped the Rajasthan Royals cruise to their third win in a row when they beat the Mumbai Indians by seven wickets in Ahmedabad on Tuesday.
There were just five balls remaining, but in reality it was a stroll in the park as the Royals set about chasing 165 to win, reports the supersport.com website.
That target owed its stature to an explosive century stand by Kieron Pollard (70) and Corey Anderson (50).
The run rate of 8.2 would have been challenging if the Mumbai bowlers had made any significant breakthrough, but the Royals were content to build a platform slowly and steadily.
They got through the powerplay at 42 for one, and while the required run-rate had crept up to near 10 by the halfway stage, Smith and Ajinkya Rahane always seemed in control.
The dismissal of Rahane by leg-break spinner Shreyas Gopal, for 46, with the score on 92, brought the new kid on the block to the crease.
Deepak Hooda, who has just 14 T20 matches on his CV, and who stole the spotlight with a 25-ball 54 which saw off Delhi Daredevils, started out by smashing two sixes off Gopal. But he was immediately undone by Lasith Malinga, going for another big one and missing.
That signalled the change in tempo.
Left-arm paceman Parwan Suyal was taken for 13 runs and the Sri Lankan 'slinger' Malinga was hammered for 15 by Smith. He ended with 79 off 53 (8x4, 1x6) while James Faulkner (6) looked on.
Pollard and Anderson earlier rescued the Mumbai Indians from near disaster when they were struggling on 45 for three. They were actually 45 for four because Aaron Finch had pulled up lame and retired in the fourth over with 24 runs on the board.
Against some excellent bowling, the Indians lost three wickets for 11 runs in six overs.
Pollard took the leading role, hammering five sixes and seven fours off 34 balls, with Anderson trailing along to 50 off 38 balls with five fours and three sixes.
Pollard took 20 runs off one Tim Southee over but was caught in the deep trying to flick another six off the last ball of the penultimate over.
Anderson, picking up the challenge, was bowled by Chris Morris with two balls remaining. It was, at least, a challenge, but not enough to prevent the Indians falling to their third loss in a row.
Rajasthan Royals: AM Rahane, SV Samson (wicketkeeper), SPD Smith (captain), KK Nair, STR Binny, DJ Hooda, JP Faulkner, CH Morris, TG Southee, DS Kulkarni, PV Tambe
Mumbai Indians: RG Sharma (captain), AJ Finch, UBT Chand, PA Patel (wicketkeepr), CJ Anderson, KA Pollard, SL Malinga, S Gopal, R Vinay Kumar, JJ Bumrah, PP Ojha