Mumbai Indians’ three-match winning streak came to a halt on Saturday, 22 April, in what was an exhilarating contest against Punjab Kings. After scoring 214 runs whilst batting first at the Wankhede Stadium, Sam Curran’s team restricted the hosts to 201/6 in match 31 of the 2023 Indian Premier League (IPL) season.
Mumbai got off to exactly the start a team would dearly want to have avoided whilst chasing a massive target of 215 runs, with opener Ishan Kishan returning to the pavilion in only the second over, having added only a solitary run to his team’s total.
However, Rohit Sharma and Cameron Green not only replicated what Atharva Taide and Prabhsimran Gill did for Punjab, but went a step further to build a commendable 76-run second-wicket stand. Whilst ensuring they don’t lose their wicket cheaply, the duo also dispatched the odd delivery out of the fence.
Mumbai’s score at the end of the powerplay read 54/1, while the next three overs produced 25 runs. With one batter in his forties and the other in his thirties, it seemed that the game could slip away from Punjab’s control, before Liam Livingstone justified his reputation by sending the opposition’s skipper packing in the 10th over.
For the second instance in the match, Mumbai did not let the fall of a crucial wicket deter them from their fightback, with Suryakumar Yadav, who has not been in the best of forms, keeping his team in the hunt.
A 14-run over off Livingstone’s bowling, wherein Yadav struck three consecutive boundaries, alongside a 17-run over off Rahul Chahar, meant that the tables had started to turn – this time in Mumbai’s favour. Green departed in the 16th over after recording his second half-century of the season, but the team’s vice-captain stood tall, with the next producing 14 runs, alongside Yadav’s fastest half-century in this competition.
That being said, the last twist in the match was yet to arrive. In the next over, Yadav mistimed an Arshdeep Singh full-toss to find Taide at mid-wicket. The five-time champions needed 31 runs off the last two overs, and while Tim David managed to take the game to the last over, playing a 25-run cameo off 13 deliveries, his team could not muster up more than 201 runs, as Arshdeep Singh conceded only two runs and picked up as many wickets in the last over.
Remarkable Turnaround With the Bat by Punjab
Earlier, Punjab Kings produced a remarkable retaliation with the bat. Despite reeling at 83/4 at one stage, they managed to accumulate 214 runs from their 20 overs at the Wankhede Stadium.
Mumbai set the tone at the start, with Cameron Green getting the better of his country-mate, Matthew Short, in only the third over of the match. However, despite losing a key overseas player, the Indian domestic batting pair of Prabhsimran Singh and Atharva Taide decided not to let the wicket affect the flow of runs.
Their batting was devoid of any inhibition, with the powerplay producing 58 runs. However, the 47-run second wicket stand met its conclusion when Arjun Tendulkar was asked to bowl the first over after powerplay, with the left-arm pacer trapping Prabhsimran Singh leg before wicket.
English all-rounder Liam Livingstone proved to be ineffective as well, scoring only 10 runs before losing his wicket to journeyman Piyush Chawla in the 10th over. However, it was not the only notable incident from that over, with Chawla also getting the better of Taide just three deliveries later.
What followed that dismissal was an incredible 92-run fifth-wicket stand between Sam Curran and Harpreet Bhatia – not because they managed to get Punjab back in the game, but the fashion in which they were able to deliver.
Between the 11th to the 16th over, Punjab scored only 35 runs in 30 deliveries, with both left-handed batters struggling to get going against the spinners. The re-introduction of Arjun Tendulkar in the 16th over, however, resulted in a tectonic shift of momentum.
The youngster conceded 31 runs in his third over, which included three fours and a couple of maximums. It proved to be the turning point of the innings, as the Kings accumulated 65 runs in the last four overs.
Whilst both Bhatia and Curran were dismissed later on – with the former scoring 41 runs and the latter registering an exceptional half-century – the onslaught was carried on by Jitesh Sharma. The batter from Maharashtra scored 25 runs in only 7 deliveries, at a rather inexplicable strike rate of 357.14.
For Mumbai, the spin-twin of Piyush Chawla and Hrithik Shokeen were the only saving graces, as they conceded only 39 runs in six overs combined. In terms of their pace quartet, every bowler ended with an economy rate north of 10 runs per over.