MUMBAI — Sanju Samson's 46 ball 76 went in vain as Mumbai Indians picked up back-to-back wickets at the death to seal an eight-run victory over Rajasthan Royals in their Indian Premier League (IPL) 2015 encounter at the Wankhede Stadium here on Friday.
Replying to Mumbai Indians' 187 for five, the Royals came close, but fell short as they finished at 179/7 in 20 overs.
Mitchell McClenaghan was the most successful of Mumbai bowlers, with figures of three for 31.
The visitors got off to a flying start scoring 30 in the first three overs, before opener Ajinkya Rahane (16) departed.
His opening partner skipper Shane Watson took on the bowlers, striking the ball at ease to all parts of the park. After hitting two massive sixes and two boundaries in his short innings of 28, Watson saw his stumps rattled while trying to cut Jagadeesha Suchith.
With two new batsmen Sanju Samson and Steven Smith in the crease, Mumbai tried to cash on the advantage, but Samson executed some quality shots to bring up his 50 in just 35 balls.
His partner Smith (23 of 20 balls), who looked set after initial discomfort against pacer Mitchell McClenaghan, finally threw his wicket away as he went for a big hit and was caught at third mans.
Earlier put in to bat, Mumbai Indian got off to a flying start with openers Parthiv Patel and Lendl Simmons merrily scoring at over nine runs in the first four overs.
Looking to up the scoring rate, Parthiv (23 off 14 balls) failed to judge a slower ball, and finished with a return catch to Dhawal Kulkarni.
Opener Simmons, now in the company of Unmukt Chand, however, kept timing the ball well to keep the run flow going.
As the West Indies bat looked poised to take on the bowlers from both the ends, spinner Ankit Sharma devoured him in the ninth over. Simmons' 31-ball 38 was studded with four boundaries and one six.
Unmukt (13) also gave away his wicket in the 11th over by hitting a loose shot to mid on for Stuart Binny to take an easy catch.
Newcomer Ambati Rayudu gave most of the strike to skipper Rohit who was looking comfortable in the middle for a perfect captain's knock.
But his short stint in the middle ended when he was caught by Ankit Sharma off Kulkarni's bowling.The bowler then evicted Rohit (27 off 21 balls).
Before that Rohit became the second Mumbai Indian player to complete 2000 runs in the IPL, by following the footsteps of the legendary Sachin Tendulkar, who has amassed 2334 runs.
A late cameo from Ambati Rayudu (53; 27b, 4x4 3x6) ensured Mumbai Indians (MI) reached a challenging total.
For Royals, Kulkarni was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 3-0-26-2.
L. Simmons lbw b Ankit Sharma 38
P. Patel c & b Kulkarni 23
U. Chand c Binny b Southee 13
R. Sharma c Ankit Sharma b Kulkarni 27
A. Rayudu not out 53
K. Pollard c Samson b Theron 24
Harbhajan Singh not out 0
Extras (lb 3, w 5, nb 1) 9
Total (5 wickets; 20 overs) 187
Fall of wickets: 1/43 (Patel, 4.5 overs), 2/73 (Simmons, 9.1 overs), 3/84 (Chand, 10.4 overs), 4/120 (Sharma, 14.5 overs), 5/181 (Pollard, 19.4 overs)
Bowling: T. Southee 4-0-36-1, D. Kulkarni 3-0-26-2, J. Theron 4-0-40-1, S. Watson 3-0-36-0, S. Binny 2-0-17-0, Ankit Sharma 4-0-29-1
A. Rahane c Rayudu b Vinay Kumar 16
S. Watson b Suchith 28
S. Samson c Suchith b McClenaghan 76
S. Smith c Harbhajan Singh b McClenaghan 23
K. Nair c Patel b McClenaghan 7
S. Binny not out 9
D. Hooda c Chand b Malinga 1
T. Southee run out 6
J. Theron not out 1
Extras (lb 2, w 9, nb 1) 12
Total (7 wickets; 20 overs) 179
Fall of wickets: 1/30 (Rahane, 3.1 overs), 2/71 (Watson, 8.1 overs), 3/127 (Smith, 14.6 overs), 4/161 (Samson, 17.4 overs), 5-161 (Nair, 17.5 ov), 6-162 (Hooda, 18.1 ov), 7-177 (Southee, 19.4 ov)
Bowling: MJ McClenaghan 4-0-31-3, S.L. Malinga 4-0-34-1, R. Vinay Kumar 4-0-39-1, J. Suchith 4--0- 39-1, Harbhajan Singh 4-0-34-0