Going in with all their flaws, it turned out to be a perfect game for the Punjab Kings. Something that they really needed to give themselves a lift after three deflating performances. For Mumbai’s big hitters, a leg that began on a nightmare note ended with yet another forgetful performance. In four of the five games Mumbai played at Chepauk, they scored less than 40 runs in the last five overs.
However, tonight it was the Powerplay that inevitably cost Mumbai the game, with bat and ball. While batting, all they could manage in the first six overs was 21 runs. This was their second lowest score in the Powerplay ever. The decision to promote Ishan Kishan ahead of Suryakumar Yadav was probably due to maintain a left-right combination after Quinton de Kock failed once more. Or, this was to give Kishan a chance to get among the runs. Nevertheless, it turned out to be the difference between the sides as Mumbai never really recovered from Kishan’s 17-ball struggle which yielded only six runs.
When it was their turn to bowl, they chose Krunal Pandya to bowl the second over. The pitch assisted Punjab spinners earlier and while Fabian Allen had an off-day, Ravi Bishnoi and Deepak Hooda gave 36 runs in their seven overs and accounted for three of the top four Mumbai batsmen. However, Krunal did not find his length and was too short to begin with. KL Rahul cut and pulled him and Mayank Agarwal added to his misery on the last ball by using his hands to hit a six over extra cover. Jasprit Bumrah too experimented after a good first four balls. Rahul swiveled to guide his short ball over the deep fine leg fence. After a decent first over, Trent Boult could not grip the ball as per his liking and bowled an above waist height full toss which, Mayank guided to the third man fence. Punjab were 37 for no loss after four overs and miles ahead in their pursuit of a paltry 132.
Earlier, after a horrid Powerplay, Mumbai’s two most technically sound batsmen – Rohit Sharma and Suryakumar Yadav – got together for 56-ball 79 run stand for the third wicket. Initially it was Rohit who accumulated boundaries, though they were few and far. He took a special liking to Allen whom he guided to the right of first slip for consecutive boundaries in the eighth over. Later, Rohit deposited a full toss from Allen and a long hop from Deepak Hooda in the stands. Soon Surya followed suit and hit Arshdeep in a trademark inside out six in the 13th over.
Both batsmen hit four boundaries to collect 29 runs in the next three overs. Looking to play the field, Surya lost his wicket to Bishnoi in the 17th over while attempting a reverse sweep. Their partnership gave Mumbai hope to touch 145 but they lost a wicket in each of the last four overs and could score only 26 runs. While the pitch helped the spinners, Mohammed Shami deserves a special mention for a spell of 2/21. His two overs at the death yielded only nine runs.
After the brisk start for Punjab, Rahul Chahar’s introduction brought some semblance to the proceedings. With Chahar and Jayant Yadav bowling most of the overs, Punjab batsmen got into a shell. Being 37/0 at the end of four overs, they scored 33 in the next eight. Chahar also accounted for Mayank’s wicket, caught at long-on.
Jayant asked questions off Gayle turning the ball away from him while Chahar did what he has been doing from the past few games. Gayle was on three off 12 balls when he dispatched a short ball from Chahar for his first boundary in the 12th over. Jayant chose to bowl faster in the next over – his third – and played to Gayle’s strengths. The Jamaican swept and slog swept him for two momentum shifting boundaries.
The game only went only one way from there as Punjab chased down the remaining 50 runs in the next 28 balls. Gayle hit Jayant in the 15th and Boult in the 18th over for sixes to the leg side. Rahul executed his second swiveled pull of the night for a six against Kieron Pollard before thumping Boult down the ground in the last over of the match.
As they still search for a right combination, Punjab maganed to stay afloat with a win. For Mumbai, things could have been worse had Kolkata and Hyderabad batsmen batted with some maturity. For now, most of their batsmen would be relieved to take the flight out of Chennai.