Punjab romp to nine-wicket victory over holders Mumbai - GulfToday

Punjab romp to nine-wicket victory over holders Mumbai


Punjab Kings’ players celebrate the wicket of Surya Kumar Yadav of Mumbai Indians during their IPL match at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Friday. Courtesy: IPL website

Mumbai Indians’ (MI) middle and lower order batting failed once again as the defending champions succumbed to their second successive loss in the Indian Premier League (IPL) at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Friday. Punjab Kings (PBKS) beat them by nine wickets with 14 balls to spare to register their second win of the season.

While MI have struggled with the bat in previous games too but they have managed to put up scores with which they could fight. However, in the last two matches they have failed to get to even 140 which has resulted in losses.

On Friday, they were restricted to their lowest total of the season -- 131 for six in 20 overs, despite Rohit Sharma getting 63.

Sharma’s 63 (52 balls, 5x4s, 2x6s) was the highest individual score for MI this season and only the second half-century for the franchise after opening batsman Suryakumar Yadav’s 56 in an earlier game.

However, even as Sharma tried to anchor the innings, tight bowling from PBKS bowlers restricted the MI batsmen.

PBKS’ decision to make one change in this game -- play Ravi Bishnoi in place of fellow leg-spinner Murugan Ashwin was vindicated as the Rajasthan bowler took two wickets for 21 in his four overs.

Pace bowler Mohammed Shami impressed, especially at the death, also taking two for 21 in his four overs.

After Quinton de Kock (3) was dismissed early by off-spinner Deepak Hooda, Bishnoi removed Ishan Kishan (6) in the first over after powerplay leaving MI struggling at 26 for two after seven overs.

A 79-run partnership for the third wicket in exactly nine overs between Sharma and Suryakumar Yadav (33 off 27 balls) resurrected the innings and set a platform for the two and the incoming hard-hitters to put up a competitive and big total.

However, that wasn’t to be. Good performance by bowlers Shami (2/21 in four overs), Bishnoi and Arshdeep Singh (1/28 in three overs) in the death overs saw MI batting fail to get anywhere near 150.

The last four overs saw only 26 runs for MI even as they lost four wickets.

The target was easy for Punjab Kings even though the franchise’s batting has been inconsistent in the tournament.

The low target did not put any pressure on openers KL Rahul (60 not out off 52 balls; 3x4s, 3x6s) and Mayank Agarwal (25 off 20 balls; 4x4s, 1x6s) as the duo added 53 in just over seven overs.

Agarwal’s dismissal may have given some hope to MI but Chris Gayle (43 not out off 35 balls; 5x4s, 2x6s) returned to form and added unbeaten 79 in 62 balls for the second wicket with skipper Rahul.

Both PBKS and MI have two wins from five games with MI one place ahead of PBKS in fourth spot due to better net run rate.

Sharma laments loss:MI skipper Sharma lamented the failure of his team’s batting as they failed to put up a challenging total.

“Not enough runs, exactly. I still feel it is not a bad wicket to bat on. You can see how Kings (PBKS) won with nine wickets in hand. If you get 150-160, you are always in the game and that is something we have failed in the last two games. We need to look at that,” he said after the match.

The MI opening batsman said that they may have to rethink the strategy of sending Kishan to bat at No. 3, ahead of Yadav who batted at No. 4. Kishan hasn’t been able to deliver.

He struggled to six off 17 balls. Yadav scored 33 off 27 balls and added 79 for the third wicket with Sharma.

“Ishan was trying to hit but couldn’t get it, even myself. In the last four games, we really batted well in the powerplay but today we failed to do so. We’re missing batting all 20 overs the way we want to,” said the India limited overs vice-captain.

“Ishan at [No.] 3 was just a tactical thing. We wanted someone to bat in the middle who plays well against spin  bowlers and we identified Surya as that player. When it works it looks good, when it doesn’t it looks bad,” added Sharma.

Indo-Asian News Service

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