Saha’s brilliance steals the show for KXIP

Wriddhiman Saha’s 93 not out off 55 balls lifted Kings XI Punjab to IPL 2017’s highest team total.

Wriddhiman Saha justified his promotion to open the innings with breathtaking hitting, displaying all traits of a performer in supreme command of his faculties.   -  Vivek Bendre

A batsman-friendly wicket and shorter boundaries at the Wankhede Stadium set the stage for a day of tall tales in the 10th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). Kings XI Punjab rattled up 230 for three in 20 overs of ruthless batting at the Wankhede Stadium. Mumbai Indians bowlers were at the receiving end as Wriddhiman Saha’s 93 not out off 55 balls lifted the visitor to IPL 2017’s highest team total.

Full scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Saha justified his promotion to open the innings with breathtaking hitting, displaying all traits of a performer in supreme command of his faculties. The wicketkeeper-batsman’s merciless assault on the Mumbai Indians bowlers included 11 fours and three sixes and helped the visitor notched its seventh win to remain in contention for a knockout place at fifth place.

Chasing 231, Lendl Simmons (59 off 32 balls) kept pace with fellow opener Parthiv Patel, in a 99-run partnership for the first wicket, for the Mumbai outfit. However, the imperious West Indian fell to an exceptional anticipation by a leaping Martin Guptill near the ropes.

Leg-spinner Rahul Tewatia induced a twist in the tale by tricking Rohit Sharma for five.

Pacer Matt Henry got trapped in the firing line facing Pollard and Pandya — as he got hit for two sixes each by the two sloggers in one over — costing 27 runs. The home team hit back with 18 fours and 14 sixes to keep the stands buzzing.

Pollard muscled in with 50 not out but ended on the losing side as the home team fell seven runs short at the end of 20 overs. It was Mohit Sharma and Sandeep Sharma who kept their cool in the death overs to pull KXIP over the line.

Earlier, KXIP was forced to rework the batting order after the prolific Hashim Amla returned to report for South Africa duty. New Zealander Martin Guptill sparked the assault, while captain Glenn Maxwell swung sixes at will. Saha made merry too, flashing the bat under the lights to hammer 11 fours and three sixes. Mitchell McClenaghan’s four overs cost 54 runs and 45 were taken off from Harbhajan Singh’s three overs.

Saha and Guptill got off to a rip-roaring start, relishing the bounce off the wicket to hit stunning drives as just 24 balls were needed to cross 50-mark, and six overs yielded 71 runs. MI turned to leg-spinner Karn Sharma. Guptill, eventually, succumbed after a power-packed 36 off 18 (5x4, 1x6).

Maxwell carried the baton, swinging across the line for three huge sixes over mid-wicket against a hapless Harbhajan. Bumrah screamed in delight after dismissing the danger-man Maxwell as the Punjab skipper stepped back for a slash, exposed the stumps and paid the price.

The home team recovered a bit following a tight bowling by Bumrah (4-0-24-1) before Saha stepped on the gas in the slog overs. KXIP was in command at 173 for one in 15 overs as the opener increasingly looked in savage mood and swelled the visitor to a huge total.

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