Even if it came late in the day or rather, towards the tail-end of the Vivo-Indian Premier League, Kings XI Punjab posted a morale-boosting victory over reigning champion Mumbai Indians at the Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy international stadium on Friday night. Stifling Mumbai’s batting to 124 for nine, the northern side overhauled the rival’s total with seven wickets in hand and three overs to spare.
Kings XI put behind its early setback of losing Hashim Amla, trapped in front by Tim Southee, with just a solitary run on the board. Shepherding the chase was Murali Vijay, whose swiftness of eye and hand swooped down on every opportunity to score, as when he smote a Mitchell McClenaghan snorter in a trice to the fine leg fence.
Supporting his skipper admirably was Wriddhiman Saha, whose clips and tucks kept the scoreboard ticking. Before long, he pumped up the pace. With timing near perfect, he patted Harbhajan Singh for a straight-driven six. With the prospect of rain never far away, the second wicket duo stayed well ahead of the Duckworth Lewis danger mark. Sadly, Saha didn’t stay to finish the formalities, chopping a McClenaghan steepler into his woodwork.
Earlier, Marcus Stoinis’s career best haul of four for 15 featured in a splendid display by Kings XI after Mumbai chose to bat first. The mop-topped medium pacer was even on a hat-trick after snaring Krunal Pandya to his doom and castling Kieron Pollard off successive balls in the 17th over.
Kings XI’s opening assault spat fire, terrorising the Mumbai top order. Unmukt Chand, not quite at ease against Mohit Sharma, who moved the ball through the air and off the seam, spooned a simple catch to mid on Gurkeerat Mann.
Ambati Rayudu fared no better, beaten by Sandeep cutting in sharply from outside off, leaving his woodwork in shambles. Such was the stranglehold, that the powerplay yielded just 21, the lowest of the season.
Foxed by Axar Patel’s straight one, Rohit Sharma, who sought to sweep the tweaker, found his off stick uprooted. Rana revelled amidst the ruins, slamming a treble of sixes before he snicked Stoinis to Saha behind the stumps.
On Friday the 13th, Mumbai found its man Friday in Pollard. With Pandya, the towering Trinidadian put on 42 runs, the most productive partnership for Mumbai. Pandya was held by deep mid-wicket Patel off Stoinis. Off the next ball, Pollard, who pounded the ball thrice over the ropes, had his off-stump prised out by Stoinis.
Gurkeerat Singh, manning the post of long-off was outstanding, palming a catch back into the arena and then clutching it to effect Jos Buttler’s dismissal. Later he clasped a finely judged overhead offering from Southee.
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