Punjab Kings 132 for 1 (Rahul 60*, Gayle 43*) beat Mumbai Indians 131 for 6 (Sharma 63, Yadav 33, Shami 2-21, Bishnoi 2-21) by nine wickets
Punjab Kings came up with a plan to tackle mighty Mumbai's star-studded batting line-up on Friday and executed that to perfection. KL Rahul and Co. didn’t allow MI openers to get a good start in the powerplay and also the big-hitters to finish strongly at the death, something that has been Mumbai's concern this year.
Punjab restricted MI to only 131 runs in the first innings, a below-par total seeing the past few games batting first. KL Rahul then played a match-winning knock, while stitching valuable partnerships with Mayank Agarwal and Chris Gayle. Punjab Kings eventually chased down the total in just 17.4 overs, winning the game by nine wickets.
Here’s a look at three major talking points from the game
Bowlers set it up for Punjab Kings
Punjab did their homework quite well before stepped on the field to lock horns with the defending champions. For the first time in the tournament, Punjab opened the bowling with Deepak Hooda and Moises Henriques to counter De Kock and Rohit in the power play. The plan worked out well as they only conceded 17 runs in the first 5 overs, including the wicket of Quinton de Kock (3).
Mumbai made a tactical change by sending Ishan Kishan, who hasn't been in great form, ahead of Suryakumar Yadav. The southpaw, yet again, slowed down the innings and failed to deliver after soaking up 17 deliveries. Bishnoi, who had replaced Ashwin, foxed the left-hander with a googly to leave MI in trouble at 26 for 2 after 7 overs. Kishan scored 6 off 17 balls.
Suryakumar Yadav and Rohit Sharma led MI’s recovery in the middle overs and did well to take the team to 105 after 16 overs. However, a disciplined bowling performance at the death denied Mumbai to finish strongly at the death.
The likes of Mohammed Shami (2/21), Ravi Bishnoi (2/21) and Arshdeep Singh(1/28) deserve all the praise for bowling the right lengths at the death to restrict MI to just 131 in the end. After enduring a forgettable outing in the last game, Shami made a strong comeback with the ball against MI. Shami and Bishnoi took two wickets apiece, while Hooda and Arshdeep too contributed with vital breakthroughs.
Rahul, Gayle batted sensibly
Knowing that this could be a tricky chase, KL Rahul took it upon himself to anchor the chase against a potent MI attack. It was one of the most sensible knocks from Punjab’s skipper, who scored 60 runs off 52 balls, including 3 fours and as many sixes.
KL Rahul took a dig at Rohit’s tactics after hitting two consecutive fours to Krunal Pandya in the second over. Punjab scored 15 runs in the second over and set the tone for the run-chase. Rohit tried Bumrah, Krunal, Boult and Rahul all inside the first six overs but nothing worked.
KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal scored boundaries regularly and never let Mumbai put pressure on them. Rahul Chahar got the wicket of Mayank Agarwal (25) in the eighth over, however, it was the only wicket that fell during the second innings.
Chris Gayle came in at three and Rohit straightway brought Jayant Yadav onto the attack. The Universal Boss didn’t try to take him on and played out his overs without taking any risk. Mayank’s wicket was followed by four silent overs. But the duo made sure they don’t lose any wicket and suffer another collapse.
For Mumbai to win the game, they needed wickets but Chris Gayle and KL Rahul stood firm at the crease. Runs started to flow once again from the 13th over onwards and Punjab soon found themselves crossing the line in just 17.4 overs. The duo stitched one of the best partnerships for Punjab in their IPL history, given how tough it was to bat on the slow Chepauk surface against a potent MI bowling attack. KL Rahul scored 60 off 52 balls, while Chris Gayle amassed 43 off 35 balls.
Consecutive failures from Mumbai’s batting unit
Mumbai have now played 5 games at MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. The middle-order failed to perform in all five games. There is no denying that it has been tough to bat on the sluggish Chepauk surface but not impossible, Rohit Sharma mentioned in the post-match presentation. The batsmen have to adapt to the conditions and put on good scores on the board. RCB showed that the other night and Punjab Kings today.
Ishan Kishan has scored 44 runs combined in his last three games, while Hardik has made only 8 runs. Pollard stayed unbeaten in the last two out of three innings but you still expect more out of an experienced campaigner. MI haven’t been able to get those late flourishes in the death overs that they are known for. Low scores from the trio have been the foremost reason behind MI’s dismal performance this year. Questions should be asked from Quinton de Kock as well for not playing to his potential and getting out on cheap scores.
For Mumbai to make a turn its fortunes around, the batting unit ought to fire in unison and exhibit better performances.
Questions To Be Answered
Chris Lynn in place of Quinton de Kock?
Quinton de Kock has got chances one too many this season without making much of a contribution. He hasn’t been able to replicate performances like last year. With Chris Lynn itching to get back into the eleven, should Mumbai continue to put faith in the South African cricketer?
Jimmy Neesham in place of Hardik Pandya?
After witnessing his performances in the last five games, leaving out Hardik Pandya from the eleven shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Jimmy Neesham would not only give them solidity in the middle order but can also chip in with 2-3 overs.
What Lies Ahead For Both Sides
Punjab Kings would look to continue the winning momentum ahead of the next game against Kolkata Knight Riders. One more win for Punjab could make them fiercer as a unit.
Mumbai Indians has to come up with better plans in their next game or they might find themselves in further trouble.
1. Mumbai skipper, Rohit Sharma struck the 40th half-century of his IPL career.
2. Rohit Sharma has now become the sixth highest run-scorer against Punjab in IPL.
3. KL Rahul has scored the slowest half-century of his IPL career.