Mumbai: Ambati Rayudu struck a breezy half-century to help Mumbai Indians overcome a sluggish middle phase as the home team ended up with a combative total of 187 for 5 against Rajasthan Royals in their IPL cricket tournament encounter, here on Friday.
Rayudu, promoted to No 5 ahead of Kieron Pollard, justified the faith in striking a quick-fire unbeaten 53 in 27 balls, laced with 3 sixes and four boundaries as it helped MI to recover from 120 for four after 15 overs.
Rayudu put on 61 runs in 30 balls with West Indian Pollard, who made 24 in 14 balls before departing with MI finish the innings with a flourish.
Earlier a decent start of 43 was provided by openers Lendl Simmons (38 in 31 balls) and left-handed Parthiv Patel (23 in 14 balls), who were again guilty of not getting to a big score after getting their eyes in after MI were put in to bat by rival skipper Shane Watson.
Captain Rohit Sharma too promised much before departing on 27 before Rayudu and Pollard combined forces to provide MI with a good total at the packed Wankhede Stadium.
Watson kept shuffling his bowlers and reaped rewards. Dhawal Kulkarni snapped up the wickets of Patel and Rohit while giving away 26 runs in 3 overs while the other three wickets were shared by Tim Southee, Juan Theron and Ankit Sharma.
Initially, left-handed Patel was the more aggressive of the two openers as he cut the ball square off the pacers with elan to earn four fours.
The diminutive wicketkeeper-batsman struck Dhawal Kulkarni for two fours off successive balls in the medium pacer's first over.
Later Patel got couple of more boundaries in one over from Juan Theron, playing his first IPL game of the season, to keep up a healthy run-rate.
However, the Gujarat-born batsman departed again after getting a good start in the fourth over when Kulkarni exacted revenge by catching him off his own bowling off the 17th ball he faced in which Patel struck five fours.
Patel fell in the fifth over when MI's score read 43 and after the first six overs of power play the score stood at 47 for 1.
Simmons, at the other end, held his end up after being dropped off the second ball of the innings when he edged Southee to Royals stumper Sanju Samson who grassed the ball off his gloves. The West Indian too departed in the tenth over when set after raising MI hopes by pulling Watson for a four and a step-out six in successive balls in the previous over.
He failed to connect a sweep shot off left arm spinner Ankit Sharma and declared out leg before. His knock was laced with one six and four fours.