Published On: Fri, May 4th, 2018

Rohit, Krunal blitz keep Mumbai Indians alive

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Mumbai Indians 176 for 4 (Suryakumar 51, Krunal 31*, Rohit 24*) beat Kings XI Punjab 174 for 6 (Gayle 50, Stoinis 29*, Bumrah 1-19) by six wickets

Live scorecard and ball-by-ball details



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Mumbai Indians are on the edge, but not yet ready to be pushed off the cliff just yet. Rohit Sharma and Krunal Pandya‘s unbeaten 56-run stand off just 21 deliveries helped them pull off a 175 chase with four balls to spare, after Kings XI Punjab had the upper hand for most parts.

Needing 50 off four overs, Ashwin threw the ball to Mujeeb Ur Rahman, who had picked up two wickets and caused Mumbai’s batsmen much trouble. Rohit responded by hitting him for two sixes. The floodgates truly opened when Marcus Stoinis missed his lengths in the next over as Krunal got stuck in to take 20. This brought the chase within touching distance, with four leg byes off a missed heave delivering their third win in nine matches.

Gayle-Rahul party continues

On Friday, Mumbai came up with a clear plan against Chris Gayle: to hit hard lengths, target his rib cage and not give him any width to swing or bowl full in his hitting arc. This left Gayle on one off eight balls at one stage. The fluency was missing, the timing was off and KL Rahul, who began with a sparkling inside-out six over extra cover off Mitchell McClenaghan was denied strike. But in hitting Hardik Pandya for three fours in the fourth over, Gayle caught up to get Kings XI back up again. His hoisting of Mitchell McClenaghan for a 92-metre six that cleared the roofs at deep square leg marked his arrival.

Kings XI averaged 59 in the Powerplay coming into this game. Here, they were only marginally slower: 49 for 0, but considering how dangerous the pair have been so far – four fifty-plus opening stands coming into the game – they would’ve taken it. They brought up their fifth fifty-plus score, but were soon separated when Rahul picked out JP Duminy at deep midwicket off Mayank Markande’s half-tracker in the seventh over.

No end to Yuvraj’s struggle

Yuvraj’s Smart Strike Rate of 40.32 this season was the poorest among 51 batsmen who’ve faced at least 50 balls this season. He started slowly again after being promoted to No. 3, making just five off the first nine balls he faced. Then he smacked Krunal, perhaps held back to negate the Gayle effect, for six over deep midwicket, but that was the highlight in another rusty effort as he was run-out after a second mix-up with Karun Nair. Yuvraj’s efforts: a run-a-ball 14, taking his season’s tally to 34 runs in six innings, the move to drop Manoj Tiwary after just one game looking even more baffling.

Mumbai’s poor finish

Jasprit Bumrah was superb in the Powerplay, superb in the death; his figures of 4-0-19-1 his best so far this season. But that didn’t translate into the finish Mumbai would’ve wanted. After strangulating Kings XI to 135 for 5, they conceded 39 off the last three. Two nights ago in Bengaluru, their final over, bowled by McClenaghan, went for 24. Here, Marcus Stoinis took the final over by Hardik for 21. He finished with 29 off 15 as Kings XI had momentum, even if they may have felt 20 lighter.

Kings XI go spin upfront

Where Mumbai bowled all of five overs of spin, Kings XI bowled those many in the first eight itself. R Ashwin, who kept Evin Lewis and Ishan Kishan quiet, bowled three of those. Then Mujeeb struck off his fourth delivery in the sixth over when Lewis nicked a skidder to Rahul. Kings XI had a tight lid on the runs. Ashwin eventually bowled out by the 11th, with Mumbai needing 99 off 54. Suryakumar Yadav held fort to construct a quick half-century, even as a watchful Kishan, trying to overcome a mini-slump after three ducks in five innings, played himself in. When it got to a point where they had to go, Suryakumar fell to an ugly hoick with Rahul taking a swirler to mount pressure.

More to follow

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo


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ESPN Sports Media Ltd.






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