Twitter Reactions: KL Rahul and Gayle take Punjab Kings over the line after bowlers' disciplined effort against MI

KL Rahul (52-ball 60) and Chris Gayle (35-ball 43) took them to a 9 wicket win with 14 balls to spare.

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KL Rahul
KL Rahul. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)KL

Mumbai Indians suffered their biggest defeat against Punjab Kings as they finished their Chennai leg with a 2-3 win-loss record. After the Kings restricted them to an under-par 131/6, with Mohammed Shami and Ravi Bishnoi picking a couple of wickets each, KL Rahul (52-ball 60) and Chris Gayle (35-ball 43) took them to a 9 wicket win with 14 balls to spare.

Winning the toss on what he felt was a “damp and sticky wicket”, KL Rahul inserted Mumbai Indians, informing about the only change in his team: Ravi Bishnoi came in for Murugan Ashwin. Proving the captain’s toss choice correct early, the Kings tied down the scoring from the onset as both Rohit Sharma and Quinton de Kock struggled to middle the ball.

Concerns around de Kock’s dwindling returns and mediocre opening partnerships for Mumbai continued again as in a bid to shift gears, an impatient de Kock found the man at mid-on off Deepak Hooda to record another single-digit score in the edition. The first boundary for the Indians came no earlier than the 5th over, when Rohit swept Moises Henriques behind for a four.

Rohit’s 63 pushes MI past 130

Ishan Kishan, whose struggle this season has been well-documented, crawled to 6 runs off 17 balls in another boundary-less outing before edging Bishnoi’s googly behind. Rohit upped the ante with consecutive fours and a six across Fabien Allen’s next two overs, as he rebuilt the innings alongside Suryakumar Yadav, adding 79 off 56 for the third wicket.

Hitting three fours and a six in his 27-ball 32, Yadav had laid a perfect platform for acceleration, although an ambitious reverse-sweep off Bishnoi saw him top-edging the ball to Chris Gayle at short third-man. Mohammed Shami sent back Rohit Sharma for a 52-ball 63 in the next over as he guided a low full toss straight to backward square to leave his side 112/4.

Kieron Pollard remained unbeaten on 16 from 12, although neither of the Pandyas could make an impact as Hardik (1 off 4) holed out to long-off against Arshdeep Singh, while Krunal (3 off 3) perished to Shami courtesy of a sensational catch from Nicholas Pooran.

Flying start by openers 

Making it look as if they were batting on an entirely different track, both KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal made a cheerful start in 132-chase. Rahul ensured to punish Krunal’s short lengths, cutting and pulling him for two back-to-back fours, while Agarwal joined him a couple of balls later, dispatching the spinner for a six over extra to take 15 from the second over.

Rahul picked a six off Jasprit Bumrah, while Trent Boult leaked 12 from his first over, which included a no-ball and free-hit that both produced fours, as PBKS got themselves a flying start. A couple of more boundaries within the powerplay meant that PBKS scored 52/0 in stark contrast to MI’s 26/2 at the same stage.

Rahul, Gayle take PBKS home after a mild hiccup

The Kings were well on track of their chase when Agarwal’s attempt to hit Rahul Chahar against the turn cost him his wicket as Yadav caught him at long-off to end his 20-ball 25. MI spinners tightened the screws around both Chris Gayle and Rahul after the wicket, as they got enough turn from the track to not let them go for their strokes. Gayle broke the shackles off Chahar in the 11th over, picking a boundary, and he followed that with consecutive fours against Jayant Yadav in the 12-run 13th over.

Rahul, who brought up his slowest IPL fifty, sent Pollard over the fine-leg fence for a six, while Gayle sent Yadav for another in the next over, which once again put the Kings on course. Although, the six led to a change of ball, and subsequently changed fortunes for MI (albeit briefly) as both Krunal and Chahar found vicious turn with the dry, new ball, beating both the batsmen convincingly over the next couple of overs.

The duo ensured to not lose their wicket, while they waited for the ball to soak in some dew before they launched an attack. The ploy worked as Gayle picked a couple of fours in the next two overs. Needing 17 from the last three overs, Gayle smashed Boult for a six over deep midwicket, while Rahul sent him 6,4 to take the team across the line.

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