Coulter-Nile stars to keep Mumbai alive

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Nathan Coulter-Nile has produced the best performance of his seven-season Indian Premier League career to help champions Mumbai Indians keep their hopes of a 'threepeat' alive.

Coulter-Nile, a stalwart of Australia's one-day and T20 internationals, won the player of the match award as the pacey allrounder's excellent 4-14 did most to wreck Rajasthan Royals' innings in Sharjah on Tuesday.

Along with Jasprit Bumrah's 2-14 and Jimmy Neesham's 3-12, Coulter-Nile, who was playing in only his fourth match in the IPL this season, bowled with excellent variety to help reduce the Royals to 9-90 off their 20 overs.

In reply, Mumbai, champions for the last two years, blitzed their way to an eight-wicket victory in just 8.2 overs, with captain Rohit Sharma's lusty opening 22 and Ishan Kishan's unbeaten 50 off 25 balls propelling them to the quickest win, in terms of balls faced, by any team this season.

The Indians needed a quick win to keep their hopes alive of earning the fourth place in the race for the playoffs.

With the boost that the speedy win gave to their net run rate, they're now fifth in the table - with one match left against Sunrisers Hyderabad - and are on the same number of points as fourth-placed Kolkata.

But the Knight Riders still have a superior net run rate and will be hot favourites to advance if they beat Rajasthan in their last match.

Coulter-Nile, who turns 34 next week, came on a second change and quickly made an impact, getting opener Yashasvi Jaiswal caught behind in the powerplay, before also then bowling Glenn Phillips off a fuller ball.

He returned later to trap David Miller lbw and clean bowl Chetan Sakariya for the ninth wicket.

"He's outstanding," enthused his teammate, New Zealander Neesham.

"You see Nathan working day in, day out in the nets. He's got one of the best wrists going around in world cricket, I reckon.

"It wasn't swinging at all tonight but you could saw how he has a plan B with his cutters and slower balls into the wicket and he's been outstanding in every game he's played for us.

"Hopefully, he can continue for the rest of the season."

After recording his best IPL figures, Coulter-Nile himself just shrugged: "I just try to keep it simple, we knew it was a hard wicket to bat on - and we all bowled really well."

Rohit ensured the chase would be an even simpler job, as he smashed two quick sixes, the second of which made him the first Indian batsman to hit 400 maximums in the IPL.

Kishan then cracked five boundaries and three sixes, including the winning blow that took Mumbai to 2-94 and brought up his half-century. He also became the youngest Mumbai batter to reach 1,000 IPL runs.

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