In a contest of bat-against-bat and not ball-against-ball or even bat-against-ball for a moment, it was Mumbai Indians that came out victorious by eight wickets against Kings XI Punjab. The win propelled MI to top of the IPL standings. In supreme batting conditions – fast outfield, ball coming on to the bat nicely and small ground – it was MI who came out the better and picked up their fifth win in a row. In all five games, MI have chased and won while in the first – their only loss so far this tournament – Mumbai had batted first. (Results | Fixtures | Points Table)
Thanks to Hashim Amla’s maiden unbeaten T20 hundred – 104 from 60 balls – and Glenn Maxwell’s rapid fire 40 runs from 18 balls, KXIP put together 198/4 and stood a strong chance of winning the match. However, once Mumbai began it never looked like KXIP could stop them and when the final blow was delivered – a six by Nitish Rana – it would have almost felt a relief for the Punjab bowlers who had no answer and no match for the Mumbai top order.
In their highest successful run chase in the IPL, MI got to the target with 27 balls to spare with Rana standing unbeaten on 62 from 34 balls and Hardik Pandya on 15. Somewhat fittingly and to depict the walloping KXIP received, Rana’s runs saw seven sixes with zero fours.
In the chase, Mumbai started in the fifth gear and never let go of the momentum till the final ball of the 16th over. Jos Buttler and Parthiv Patel opened the innings for Mumbai and provided an explosive start to put together 81 runs in 35 balls to provide MI their best Powerplay score in all seasons of the IPL. Just as Parthiv departed to Marcus Stoinis, Rana joined in on the act and in yet another show of fine batting, scored his third fifty of the season and reclaimed the Orange Cap. Buttler top-scored with 77 from 37 balls hammering seven fours and five sixes in what was thumping hitting all around the park from the English batsman.
The win and the resounding win left Amla’s century in vain which like Kane Williamson’s gorgeous knock for Sunrisers Hyderabad on Wednesday had been pure timing and example of batsmen able to score big without the need of fancy strokes and serious hitting.
The loss meant KXIP have now lost four in a row ever since winning their first two and need to strike form if they are to avoid the embarrassments of the previous seasons.