Quinton de Kock guided Mumbai Indians back to winning ways as his dazzling innings helped last season's champions beat Rajasthan Royals by seven wickets.
Rajasthan made 171-4 but were lacking an outstanding contribution with the bat, which is what De Kock gave Mumbai as his unbeaten 70 from 50 balls proved telling, halting a two-game slide.
Chris Morris took two of the three Mumbai wickets to fall, but the Indian Premier League's most expensive player also saw his first delivery swatted for six by De Kock and could not win that contest.
Jasprit Bumrah had earlier played a key role with the ball in restricting the flow of runs late in Rajasthan's innings, and Mumbai reached their target with nine balls to spare, finishing on 172-3.
All Over: @mipaltan begin their Delhi leg on a positive note with a comfortable 7-wicket win over #RR. @QuinnyDeKock69 scores an unbeaten 70 off 50 balls. https://t.co/jRroRFWVBm #MIvRR #VIVOIPL pic.twitter.com/cJmFH609FU— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) April 29, 2021
At Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi, Rajasthan's top four all made useful scores, with Jos Buttler having three fours and three sixes in making 41 from 32 deliveries and fellow opener Yashasvi Jaiswal also clearing the ropes twice in a rapid 32 from 20 balls.
Both fell to Rahul Chahar (2-33), with Sanju Samson top-scoring with 42 from 27 balls before being cleaned up by a Trent Boult yorker. Shivam Dube (35) was caught and bowled by Bumrah, who snagged his reward for a dazzling performance, finishing with 1-15 from four overs.
Mumbai began their reply in solid fashion and De Kock welcomed fellow South African Morris into the attack with a brutal pull over the ropes.
Morris conceded four leg byes from the next delivery too, but from the final ball of the over he coaxed Rohit Sharma to chip to Chetan Sakariya at mid-on for the first breakthrough of the innings, with 49 on the board.
De Kock kept the runs flowing but lost second-wicket partner Suryakumar Yadav for just 16, flicking Morris to Buttler at mid-wicket, and almost departed himself when he was dropped on 58 by Jaiswal off Sakariya. It would have been a stunning catch and Jaiswal, dashing backwards in the field, got hands to the ball but could not cling on.
Krunal Pandya cracked two sixes in making 39 from 26 balls, edging a delivery from Mustafizur Rahman into his stumps to perish before the winning line, but De Kock and Kieron Pollard (16no), who also struck a maximum off Morris, soon made sure.
Bumrah gets it right
Bumrah may not have the wickets to show for it yet this season, but few batsmen will have relished facing his pace and skill. Here he delivered 12 dot balls, conceded just one boundary, and picked up a wicket from his penultimate delivery, which was probably one of the worst balls he bowled. Stifling the Royals batsmen late in the innings proved so valuable in the end.
De Kock makes his mark
With three failures from his first four IPL innings this season, De Kock knew the team were due a score from him, and here it was. After going 2, 40, 2, 3 in Mumbai's previous matches, opener De Kock stepped up and made all the difference in this clash. His six off Morris was a highlight and De Kock twice went over the ropes, also cracking six fours while proving both sturdy and ever-dangerous. Mumbai had won just two of their opening five games, but this third win was a dominant one, largely thanks to their powerful left-hander.