Caribbean batsman Evin Lewis smashed a 42-ball 60 before Hardik Pandya produced a quick-fire 36 to steer Mumbai Indians to a fighting 168 for six against Rajasthan Royals in a key Indian Premier League (IPL) clash, here today.
It was difficult to time the ball on the Wankhede wicket and it required immense physical strength to clear the boundary ropes. Lewis batted smartly as he opened his arms only after building his innings steadily after being dropped at individual score of five.
Lewis added 87 runs with fellow opener Suryakumar Yadav (38 off 31) who was also dropped on nine by the Royals fielders. Lewis hit four sixes and as many fours in his innings.
West Indies' paceman Jofra Archer produced excellent bowling performance to put the hosts under pressure. He conceded only 16 runs from his four overs and dismissed Lewis and Suryakumar and Rohit Sharma (0) in successive balls.
He used the bounce available in the pitch, hit the deck hard and bowled straight into the batsmen, hardly giving any room to open their arms.
The hosts were struggling badly at one stage, failing to capitalise a good start, but Pandya came up with his blistering knock just in time to propel them. He hit three fours and two sixes in his 21-ball knock.
Suryakumar, who was also dropped on nine by Gowtham, though had adjusted to the bounce and negotiated both spinners and pacers nicely, playing confident drives.
The fluffed chances allowed Mumbai Indians to come out of Power-play overs unscathed and with 51 runs on the board.
The wicket was such that the batsmen could not set the field on fire. The home openers batted smartly to work the ball around and kept the scoreboard moving. Till the eighth over, no six was hit.
Lewis broke the shackles by lofting Gopal for consecutive sixes in the ninth over.
A desperate Rahane brought back Archer and he not only provided the Royals the breakthrough by getting rid of Suryakumar but dealt a massive blow to the hosts by dismissing rival captain Rohit Sharma (0) in the next ball.
Lewis raised his fifty with a six off Gowtham and also launched Dhawal Kulkarni for a six but the paceman stopped him in his tracks soon.
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