Mumbai Indians made a mockery of a 199-run target set by Kings XI Punjab, blitzing their way to the finish line with 27 balls and eight wickets to spare in Indore on Thursday. Jos Buttler put his travails from last season behind with a dominating 77 from just 37 balls. Handy contributions from Parthiv Patel (37 from 17) and find of the season Nitish Rana (62* from 34) helped Rohit Sharma’s side to get to their fifth win from six games.
On a day where batting ruled the roost, Hashim Amla’s pyrotechnics (104* from 60) helped his side to a fine total of 198/4, which should have been a match-winning one on any other day. The Punjab bowlers, though, were poor on a placid batting wicket. Here is a look at how the match unfolded:
The Mumbai massacre
Buttler and Parthiv Patel went on rampage from the first ball, easily finding the boundary ropes. The Indian was scoring his runs with short-arm jabs, pulls and classy cut shots square of the wicket. Buttler, easily the more belligerent of the two batsman, took a page out of the Maxwell school of batting, flicking length deliveries over the deep mid-wicket fence. Against deliveries on the off-side, the Englishman used his powerful bottom-hand play to consistently knock the ball over the long-off boundary.
Having knocked off 84 runs in six overs, Mumbai already had a vice-like grip on the contest. Just when Punjab thought they had a respite from the carnage, the in-form Nitish Rana took no time to pile on the misery, ensuring that the 2014 finalists had no way back in the contest. The Delhi lad brought up yet another half-century, bringing up the landmark with a top-edged six. The southpaw finished off the contest with a commanding pull shot, which also landed over the ropes and walked away with the Orange cap.
Amla’s brutal yet classy essay
It was a long time coming but the South African veteran brought up his first ton in Twenty20 cricket. Amla’s assault on arguably one of the greatest players in the IPL in Lasith Malinga will be long remembered. Very few batters around the world have treated the Sri Lankan with such disdain, especially in this competition.
Amla was severe in middle overs. With Glenn Maxwell running riot at the other end, batting turned out to be an exhibition of power and finesse. Against Malinga alone, Amla smashed 51 runs in just 16 balls. Batsman with a copybook technique are certainly here to stay in this format.
Saha’s woes continue
Coming into the tournament, Wriddhiman Saha earned a reputation of being one of the most improved Test batsman in the Indian setup, having amassed 615 runs at an average of 47.30 in 13 Tests during the 2016-’17 season.
For someone who has turned into a vital cog of the Punjab lineup, the Bengal keeper has faltered miserably so far with paltry scores of 14, 25, 17, 7, 0, 11. The team management has to take some of the blame here, having failed to hand one of their frontline batsman a stable spot in the lineup.
With Axar Patel’s promotion proving to be a disastrous experiment, Punjab’s problems with the No.3 spot is here to stay. As for Saha, the struggle continues. The road to recovery should start with handing him a permanent spot.
Glenn Maxwell made merry with the well-set Amla alongside him. After a couple of blitzkrieg knocks at the start of the tournament – 44* from 20 and 43 from 22 – Maxwell went slightly off the boil. However, the Punjab captain was in his element here, carting the ball to all parts of the Holkar stadium.
Anything that was delivered full on the off-side was dispatched over the boundary ropes. As for the ones that angled in, Maxwell, with minimal wristwork, thumped the ball over the fence. His 18-ball stay at the crease yielded 40 runs. While Amla send Malinga on a leather hunt, the Australian took on pacer Mitchell McClenaghan.
- Kings XI Punjab 198/4 in 20 overs (Hashim Amla 104*, Glenn Maxwell 40; Mitchell McClenaghan 2/46) lost to Mumbai Indians 199/2 in 15.3 overs (Jos Buttler 77, Nitish Rana 62 not out; Marcus Stoinis 1/28) by 8 wickets