KL Rahul returned to form at exactly the right time for Kings XI Punjab, scoring a scintillating 71 not out to help his side get back to winning ways and extend their unbeaten streak at Mohali’s IS Bindra stadium to five straight matches.
Facing Mumbai Indians, a solid all-round display from the home team ensured that they beat the visitors with eight wickets to spare, their largest victory against Mumbai in terms of wickets.
After losing the toss, Mumbai were put in to bat and the visitors got off to a good start. Their captain Rohit Sharma was looking solid in the middle, hitting last season’s Purple Cap winner Andrew Tye for three boundaries in the fifth over, upping the run rate to 10 per over at the time. However, Protean pacer Hardus Viljoen managed the dismiss the dangerous Sharma just two balls later, trapping him leg before wicket.
KXIP’s debutant Murugan Ashwin then picked up the hard-hitting Suryakumar Yadav soon after, bringing the home side back into the game with the score reading 64/2 after seven overs. However, Quinton de Kock and Yuvraj Singh managed to steady the ship for the visitors, with the South African doing the bulk of the scoring as he got to his first fifty of the season.
KL Rahul announced his return to form with a brilliant, match-winning half century. He showed his vast experience as he started off slowly, fending off the likes of Lasith Malinga and Jasprit Bumrah before upping the ante when his team needed it the most.
To break the partnership, captain Ravichandran Ashwin brought back Mohammed Shami into the attack; and the pacer duly obliged by picking up the wicket of de Kock soon after. A couple of overs later, Murugan got Yuvraj caught in the deep, capping off a quality bowling performance which saw him concede only 25 runs in his four overs while picking up two wickets.
Yuvraj’s wicket adversely affected MI’s scoring rate, with the new batsman struggling to get going like their predecessors; with Kieron Pollard ultimately losing his wicket to Tye, courtesy a stellar high catch by Mayank Agarwal. The visitors, though, managed to add 22 runs off the last two overs and set a target of 177.
Unha De Sher
Quinton de Kock played a stellar knock for Mumbai Indians, top scoring with 60 runs. After he was dismissed, the subsequent batsmen failed to keep the run rate going and that ultimately ended up costing them the game.
In reply, Kings XI Punjab too got off to a good start with Chris Gayle smashing two consecutive sixes off Mitchell McClenaghan’s second over, getting to a record 300 sixes in VIVO Indian Premier League history in the process. The Shers ended with 38 runs after the powerplay overs without losing a wicket, employing a more defensive approach towards Jasprit Bumrah to avoid losing their wickets to the MI talisman.
Immediately after the powerplay though, the Universe Boss amped up the run rate by smashing Hardik Pandya for two consecutive sixes. However, the very next over he mistimed his shot off Krunal Pandya’s bowling and ended up being caught in the deep.
The wicket didn’t do much to dampen KXIP hopes though, as Karnataka boys Agarwal and KL Rahul kept the scoring rate steady, with the former smashing four boundaries off the next three overs. Agarwal continued the onslaught, hitting a solid straight six off Krunal’s bowling to ensure home side’s ascendency, who now required 74 off the last eight overs with nine wickets in hand.
The 15th Mumbai Indians over tilted the balance in the favour of the hosts, as 19 runs were scored off it which left them needing just 37 in the last five overs, with eight wickets in hand.
However, Pandya managed to affect the breakthrough in the 14th over, taking a sharp catch off his own bowling to send back Agarwal after he’d scored 43 off just 21 balls. Following that dismissal, Rahul took charge off the chase, smashing Hardik for a six and a four in the next over.
The 16th over also proved expensive for the visitors, as 16 runs were scored off it while Rahul got to his half century. With his confidence on a high following the fifty, Rahul took the charge to Bumrah, smashing him for two stylish boundaries. With eight balls to spare, David Miller caressed a single on the leg side to ensure Kings XI Punjab got back to winning ways.