IPL 2018: Match 50, MI vs KXIP, Review- Mumbai Indians live to fight another day

Mumbai make their entry into the top four and Punjab move down to number six in the points table.

Mumbai Indians
Mumbai Indians celebrate fall of Chris Gayle’s wicket. (Photo by IANS)

The Mumbai Indians (MI) and the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) stumbled in their erstwhile matches against the Rajasthan Royals (RR) and the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) respectively. The points table is getting congested with the progression of the round-robin stage and the margin of error was minimum for both the franchises and they required a victory to keep themselves afloat in the tournament.

The teams locked horns at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai and it turned out to be a heart-racer. The match went right down the wire and was a roller coaster, but eventually, Mumbai having been there and done that held their nerves and won by three runs. Most importantly, MI remain in contention and Punjab get pushed down to number six in the points table.

Pollard rescues Mumbai

The dew was expected to play a major part in the game and bearing the factor in mind, Ravichandran Ashwin elected to field first. Evin Lewis and Suryakumar Yadav took charge for the home team. Both looked in stupendous touch and powered their way to a partnership worth 37 runs in 3.1 overs. Lewis flung his bat but strained to middle the ball. On the contrary, Surya looked settled at the crease.

The opener creamed the bowlers and found the boundaries without dropping much sweat. He scored 27 runs off 14 balls out of which 24 runs were scored off fours and sixes. Andrew Tye was introduced in the fourth over and the decision paid immediate dividends as he brought forth his trademark knuckleball and disturbed Lewis’ woodwork. Ishan Kishan stomped in and smacked Mohit Sharma for 18 runs.

However, his joy was cut short as he succumbed to Tye’s variations. The Australian pacer nipped Surya in the next delivery and all of a sudden, Mumbai found themselves in shambles. Rohit Sharma couldn’t survive for long either. Krunal Pandya and Kieron Pollard resurrected the innings with a stand of 65 runs off 36 balls. Meanwhile, a couple of floodlights malfunctioned and the play was halted for five minutes.

Pollard, who replaced JP Duminy in the XI, notched his maiden half-century of this year’s IPL in 22 balls. The knock was constructed with five boundaries and three colossal blows over the ropes. Krunal also wielded his willow to good effect and scored 32 useful runs. Tye dished out another jaw-dropping spell and picked up four wickets for 16 runs. Despite his brilliance, Mumbai compiled 186 runs.

Mumbai clings on to qualification chances

The target wasn’t an overly daunting one, but Punjab’s batting hasn’t been in the greatest of forms barring KL Rahul and Chris Gayle. The onus was on the duo to get the visitors off to a blazing start. Both batters looked in ominous form. The Jamaican whacked a couple of half-trackers from Hardik Pandya and they kick-started his knock. Rahul played elegantly as he has done thus far in the league.

In the next over, Mitchell McClenaghan got rid of Chris with a vicious bouncer and Punjab lost their first wicket at the score of 34 in the fourth over. Aaron Finch, who was yet to score big in the league, was promoted to No.3 and he joined Rahul. The pair didn’t stumble, kept the scoreboard ticking and compiled a half-century stand in the tenth over. Meanwhile, the required rate crept over ten with as many overs remaining.

In the next over, Rahul stormed to a fifty in 36 balls, which also was his sixth half-century during run-chases in this season’s IPL. Finch, at the other end, looked determined to take his team home. In the 14th over, the required rate touched 11 and in the next over, it was at 12. The target was starting to look menacing, but Rahul plundered Mayank Markande for 18 runs and brought things back in control.

He deposited the leg-break bowler into the stands and the target dropped down to 42 runs off four overs. Jasprit Bumrah bowled a stupendous 17th over and consumed two big hitters in Finch and Marcus Stoinis. Rahul scored 15 runs in Ben Cutting’s next and made Punjab the firm favourites to win the encounter. Bumrah then churned out the wicket of KL Rahul in the 19th and it jolted Punjab to defeat.

Thereafter, Yuvraj Singh had another chance to be a hearo but for that to be a reality he had to pull off a herculean task score 17 runs in the last over. He missed out on a couple of opportunities and eventually perished to McClenaghan. With 15 runs required off the last three balls, Axar Patel hoicked the Kiwi pacer over mid-wicket for a six to keep Punjab’s hopes alive. However, the Black Cap pinned him keeping KXIP devoid of three runs and Rohit Sharma’s men live to fight another day.

Brief Scores:

Mumbai Indians: 186/8 in 20 overs (Kieron Pollard 50, Krunal Pandya 32; Andrew Tye 4/16, Ravichandran Ashwin 2/18)

Kings XI Punjab: 183/5 in 20 overs (KL Rahul 94, Aaron Finch 46; Jasprit Bumrah 3/15, Mitchell McClenaghan 2/37)

Mumbai Indians beat Kings XI Punjab by three runs

Player of the Match: Jasprit Bumrah