Mumbai thumps Kings XI to stay in the hunt

Mumbai Indians secured a six-wicket win over Kings XI Punjab with a good all-round showing.

Rohit Sharma and Krunal Pandya put together 56 runs for the fifth wicket and struck unbeaten 24 and 31 respectively to take Mumbai Indians home in exactly 19 overs.   -  VIVEK BENDRE

They call this city Mini Mumbai. The men from Mumbai Indians certainly won’t mind that, as they scored a badly-needed win in the IPL on Friday night.

They had come here on a Mission Impossible, struggling to avoid an early exit after finding themselves at the bottom of the table, winning just two games. There is lot more work to do yet, but Rohit Sharma and his men could afford to breathe a bit easier after the four-wicket win with an over to spare against King’s XI Punjab  one of the in-form sides of the tournament.

As it happened

Chasing a less-than-daunting target of 175, Suryakumar Yadav had kept them in the game with his 57 off 42 balls. Then an unbroken 56-run partnership between Rohit (24, 15b) and Krunal Pandya (31 not out, 12b) took them home. The game was well-poised going into the last five overs with the defending champion needing 57. But, the 18th over bowled proved too costly for KXIP as Marcus Stoinis went for 20, with Krunal scoring 14 of them off the last three balls.

Earlier, Rohit promptly put the host in after winning the toss and out came the dream opening pair of this IPL – Chris Gayle and K.L. Rahul. The fireworks were started on this night by the stylish Karnataka batsman, who dispatched Mitchell McClenaghan’s fifth ball in the opening of over of the innings to the stands over cover.

 

He extended a similar welcome to Jasprit Bumrah, the other new-ball bowler, who however succeeded in inducing an edge from Gayle off the last ball of the over. ‘Keeper Ishan Kishan, however, failed to catch it.

Gayle soon put that behind him as he hit Hardik Pandya for successive boundaries in the very next over. In the eighth over though, he saw his partner depart. Rahul, on 24, hit leggie Mayank Markande, one of the few heartwarming stories for the Mumbai side this season, straight to J.P. Duminy at mid-wicket.

After the opening wicket stand of 54, Yuvraj Singh came in. But it didn’t prove a memorable return to the side for the seasoned left-hander, as he could only make 14 before being run-out by a smart piece of fielding by Evin Lewis.

Gayle had gone before him though, but only after doing that cradle act of his as he celebrated another fifty. He had hit 50 off 40 balls when he was caught at deep mid-wicket by Suryakumar Yadav off Ben Cutting, who had banged it short.

Nobody else went past 30 as KXIP ended its innings with a score that it wouldn’t have been too pleased with. Bumrah returned the most impressive figures for MI – one for 19 off four overs.