Punjab Kings finally ticked all the boxes that helped them arrest a three-match streak and ended their assignment in Chennai with a 9-wicket victory over defending champions Mumbai Indians on Friday.
It was skipper KL Rahul’s evening throughout. He won the toss, used his bowlers judiciously to limit Mumbai to a below-par 131/6 and anchored the chase with a handsome 60 not out off 52 balls to assist his team register their second win within the tournament.
SCORECARD | POINTS TABLE | because it HAPPENED
Rahul and his fellow opener Mayank Agarwal got Punjab off to a flying 53-run start within the Powerplay before Mumbai’s strike bowler Rahul Chahar pulled them back with the wicket of Agarwal for a 20-ball 25, laced with four hits to the fence and once over it.
Rahul started off aggressively, slamming Krunal Pandya for a few of consecutive fours and taking Jasprit Bumrah to the cleaners. However, he shifted gears after losing Agarwal. With new man Chris Gayle (43 not out off 35 balls) taking a while to urge his eye in, and therefore the asking rate mounting, the Karnataka right-hander focused on keeping it right down to those and twos.
But once the Jamaican warmed up with two consecutive fours and a towering six over long on off Jayant Yadav, Rahul also decided to travel the aerial way against Keiron Pollard, milking the West Indian for a six over fine leg before mentioning a run-a-ball 50.
From there on, it had been one-way traffic for Punjab, with the right-left combo stretching their unbeaten second-wicket partnership to 79 runs and ensuring that the Kings got over the road with 14 balls to spare.
Earlier, with a well-set Rohit (63 off 52 balls; 4×5, 6×2) and Suryakumar Yadav (33) within the middle, Mumbai Indians were expected to up the ante within the last four overs. But Rahul’s decision to save lots of his best bowlers in Mohammed Shami (2/21), Ravi Bishnoi (2/21) and Arshdeep Singh (1/28) for the death helped Punjab stem the run flow.
Bishnoi managed to interrupt the 79-run third–wicket stand with the scalp of Yadav, who holed one to Chris Gayle after hitting three boundaries and a six for his 27-ball knock. Rohit soon joined Yadav within the dugout, because of Fabian Allen holding a skier on the ropes off Shami within the 18th over.
Keiron Pollard (16) raged a lone battle to gather as many as possible within the final overs, whilst the Pandya brothers flopped with the bat once more .
Mumbai skipper Rohit quickly got over a sluggish start that saw him score 17 off the primary 20 balls before launching a counterattack. Rohit took a special liking to left-arm spinner Fabien Allen, welcoming the West Indian with back-to-back boundaries before hitting him for a six to the long-on boundary. From then, there was no looking back for the Mumbai skipper, who need to his half century in 37 balls.