Botha shines in Rajasthan’s win over Mumbai

South Africa all-rounder Johan Botha shone with both bat and ball to help Rajasthan Royals secure a comfortable seven-wicket victory over Mumbai Indians in a low-scoring Indian Premier League (IPL) encounter on Friday.

Botha grabbed three wickets and then hit 45 runs — the top score of the match — as Rajasthan made 95-3 off 18,1 overs in reply to Mumbai’s 94-8 on a pitch that aided spin bowling.

The win took Rajasthan to second in the table with nine points from eight games. Mumbai remains top with 10 from seven.

Rajasthan took control of the run chase as Botha dealt with both pace and spin with ease, hitting a six and two fours in an impressive 39-ball knock before being bowled by Munaf Patel in the 18th over.

He figured in a 39-run second wicket stand with Australia opener Shane Watson (26) that set up the chase and then 34 with New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor to take Rajasthan to within five runs of victory.

“I’m really happy with my performance,” Botha said. “We just wanted to start well and that’s what we did … 120-130 would have been a tough chase.”

In Mumbai’s innings, Australia allrounder Andrew Symonds’s 26-ball 17 was the highest score, as the batsmen struggled after being put in against some tight bowling. The spinners Botha (3-6) and Ashok Menaria (2-20) led the way but were ably backed up by pace bowler Amit Singh (2-14).

After Singh grabbed the early wicket of South African opener Davy Jacobs, left-arm spinner Menaria removed in-form Sachin Tendulkar for seven and Ambati Rayudu (11).

Rajasthan captain Shane Warne then dismissed Rohit Sharma as Mumbai was left struggling on 50-4 after 10 overs.

Any hopes of a recovery were dashed by a two-over spell from Botha, whose wickets included explosive batsmen Symonds and Kieron Pollard.

Harbhajan Singh smashed a last-ball six off Watson to take the score past 90 but it was not enough as Botha proceeded to take control with the bat.

In the second game of the day, Royal Challengers Bangalore will host Pune Warriors.

Rajasthan Royals 95-3 in 18.1 overs (Johan Botha 45, Shane Watson 26, Munaf Patel 2-18), def. Mumbai Indians 94-8 in 20 overs (Andrew Symonds 17, Johan Botha 3-6, Amit Singh 2-14, Ashok Menaria 2-20). — Sapa-AP

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