The Mumbai Indians have successfully defended moderate totals a few times this season. They won against Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad, defending 152 and 150 respectively. Also on Friday their bowlers did their best to make it a match. But 131/6 was largely insufficient as Punjab Kings captain KL Rahul and Chris Gayle put together an undefeated 79-point second-wicket partnership to lead them to a 9-wicket victory with 14 balls to spare.
Rahul and Gayle bring Punjab home
At one point on Friday night, it seemed like an oddly familiar scenario was playing out at MA Chidambaram Stadium. The Punjab Kings, chasing an average goal of 132 points, got off to a confident start, producing 53 points for the loss to opener Mayank Agarwal in 7.2 overs. But then came the choke in the middle, with Mumbai spinners Rahul Chahar and Jayant Yadav applying the brakes. The races came to the net with Rahul and Gayle struggling to provide the impetus. Was another implosion planned? The Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad missed games against Mumbai that they should have won.
91 against RR
5 against CSK
✅ 61 V DC
❌ 4 in SSR
✅ 50 * in MI
– Wisden India (@WisdenIndia) April 23, 2021
Significantly, the Punjab has kept its wickets intact. A limit of Gayle along the leg against Chahar relieved the pressure. He then launched into Yadav for a pair of limits and a whopping six that climbed to number one. Rahul, on the other end, continued the rotating strike with a common sense approach. Despite struggling with his timing for most of the innings, the Punjab Kings captain had a fifty run-a-ball that helped his team cross the finish line.
Bowlers apply the starter on MI
Batting in Chennai has been a treacherous proposition. The ground is slow and at two speeds. As a result, stroke play can be tough and batsmen never fully understand the conditions. The Mumbai Indians got off to a lackluster start, dropping to 21/1 after 6 overs – their second-lowest power play total in the IPL. It was Captain Rohit Sharma who played the role of the anchor with finesse, using his experience to find a way to beat on this surface. Without his 52 63 balls and Suryakumar Yadav’s effervescent 27 33 balls, the reigning champions would have struggled to exceed the triple-digit score.
Credit should be given to Rahul for organizing his bowling resources admirably. He used Moises Henriques and Deepak Hooda, who applied the starter from the start. Even during Mumbai’s mini resurrection – a 79 point partnership between Rohit and Suryakumar – Punjab bowlers kept their cool. Thanks to Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami and Arshdeep Singh, they came out on top in the middle order of Mumbai, limiting them to 34/4 in the last five overs.
Brief Notes: Bombay Indians 131/6 (Rohit Sharma 63 out of 52 deliveries, 5 × 4, 2 × 6; Suryakumar Yadav 33 out of 27 deliveries, 3 × 4, 1 × 6; Ravi Bishnoi 2/21, 10 points) lost to Kings of Punjab 132/1 in 17.4 overs (KL Rahul 60 not on 52 deliveries, 3 × 4, 3 × 6, Chris Gayle 43 not on 35 balls, 5 × 4, 2 × 6; Rahul Chahar 1/18; 8 points) by 9 counters