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Death bowling turned out to be the undoing for Kings XI Punjab yet again as a late cameo from Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard helped Mumbai Indians get over the line on Thursday in the Dream11 Indian Premier League. Playing their first game at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, Kings XI Punjab succumbed to their third loss of the season as the target of 192 proved too steep for KL Rahul and co. on the day.

Opting to bowl first, KXIP were given the perfect start by Sheldon Cottrell, who started off with a maiden-wicket, sending Quinton de Kock packing with an immaculate in-swinger. New man Suryakumar Yadav started off brightly though, as he and Rohit Sharma got two boundaries apiece to push the scoring rate to a run-a ball after three overs. 

Yadav’s stay at the crease however was brief, as he was run out by a brilliant direct-hit from Mohammed Shami. Despite the early wickets, Rohit Sharma kept piercing the infield to get his side to 41/2 after the end of the powerplay.

Sharma continued to time the ball perfectly even after the fielding restrictions were lifted, getting boundaries without taking any untoward risks. In the 11th over, Ishan Kishan who was struggling to find his batting touch took his chances against Ravi Bishnoi, and got the first six of the evening- a monstrous hit on the leg side. 

Despite the occasional boundaries, the Kings XI bowlers did well to keep the run rate under check, as MI only had 83 runs on the board after 13 overs. The economical bowling took its toll on Ishan Kishan, as he tried to hit a ball pitched way outside the off-stump for a six, but only found Karun Nair at deep mid-wicket. 

Mumbai Indians switched gears shortly after, as new man Kieron Pollard and Rohit Sharma got a six apiece to push the team score past a 100. The batting side’s skipper got to his half century shortly after, targeting Jimmy Neesham’s penultimate over to extract 22 runs from it.  

The MI skipper however couldn’t continue his carnage, as he had to walk back to the pavilion for 70 after a brilliant relay catch from the combination of Glenn Maxwell and Neesham. New man Hardik Pandya kept the run rate high, as Jimmy Neesham’s last over went for 18 runs, leaving the team score at 147/4 after 18. 

With two aggressive batsmen in the middle, Mumbai went for the jugular in the final two overs, as they smashed four sixes and four fours to end with a mammoth score of 191. 

Turning Point

Kings XI Punjab’s death bowling once again turned out to be their undoing as the final two overs of the Mumbai innings went for 44 runs, ultimately putting the total out of reach. 

In response, Kings XI Punjab openers started with a bang, as Mayank Agarwal began playing his shots from the get go, pushing the score to 24 after two overs. The stylish opener continued to find the fence regularly, keeping his side in the hunt by maintaining the run rate at nearly 10 an over. 

Mumbai’s seasoned pacer Jasprit Bumrah broke the partnership in his very first over, castling Agarwal with a full length delivery. KXIP lost a second wicket shortly after, as a quicker one from Krunal Pandya was dragged back onto his stumps by Karun Nair, to leave the score at 41/2 after the powerplay.  

New batsman Nicholas Pooran didn’t need too long to settle, as he got a six and a four off Krunal Pandya’s third over to augment the scoring rate. His partner in crime KL Rahul though couldn’t keep his fine form in the tournament going, as he was knocked over trying to play a paddle sweep. 

Despite losing their captain, Kings XI Punjab remained in the hunt thanks to the destructive batting of Pooran, who got three fours and two sixes post the strategic timeout, pushing the team score to 94/3 after 12 overs. The southpaw fell shortly after that, as he got a thin outside edge off James Pattinson’s penultimate over which fell kindly to Quinton de Kock. 

With Pooran’s wicket, Kings XI had a mountain to climb as they now needed 87 of the last six overs with two new players at the crease. Things got worse for the chasing side, as Glenn Maxwell mistimed his big shot against Rahul Chahar, and found the fielder on the leg side.

Jimmy Neesham also fell cheaply shortly after, flummoxed by a quick fulltoss from Bumrah which he could only hit to the fielder at point. The champions continued to strengthen their position in the game, as next to fall was Sarfaraz Khan, LBW to Pattinson. 

With the tailenders exposed, the final few overs remained a mere formality for the fielding side, and although Krishnappa Gowtham did well to get some boundaries, Mumbai Indians ended up winning by 

Brief Scorecard:

Mumbai Indians: 191/4, 20 overs (Sharma 70, Cottrell 1/20)


Kings XI Punjab:  143/8, 20 overs (Pooran 44, Bumrah 2/18)