MI vs KXIP: 5 Reasons Why Mumbai Indians Thumped Punjab by 48 Runs
Player of the match Kieran Pollard scored a quickfire 47 off 20 balls with four sixes to take Mumbai to 191/4.
One-sided encounters are often classic case studies in understanding a team’s morale and strategy. With both teams at an almost identical footing prior to this match, Mumbai Indians managed to comfortably beat Kings XI Punjab by 48 runs.
The questions though is why and how did it become such a one-sided encounter?
Mumbai Indians vs Kings XI Punjab was also a contest between two super-over losing teams. Both feel they have lost matches that they probably should’ve won. With both teams on 2 points from three matches, Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul would have been desperate for a win.
Sent in to bat first, MI scored 191/4, thanks to 89 runs off the last five overs. In reply, Punjabi crumbled under pressure and managed only 143/8 in their 20 overs.
While Mumbai rode high on a complete team performance at Abu Dhabi, KXIP will have a lot of homework to do, with the middle-order failing, bowling options not working and team selection questions.
Here are five game-changing moments that helped MI script a comfortable victory over a formidable Punjab team.
KXIP MISSED A SIXTH BOWLER
In Thursday’s match Punjab decided to replace leg-spinner M Ashwin for off-spinning all rounder K Gowtham. While this was done to add depth to their batting line-up, giving him the last over was a bad idea. Gowtham went for 25 in the 20th over, conceding four sixes. Pollard and Hardik Pandya were middling their shots well and capitalised fully on KXIP’s somewhat absurd decision to bowl a finger spinner like Gowtham at the end.
MI strategically went after medium-pacer Jimmy Neesham who conceded 52/0 in his four overs while Gowtham got whacked for 45. A sixth bowling option, something that has been very useful for Kolkata Knight Riders, was missing from the Punjab attack.
BATTLE OF THE MIDDLE ORDERS
Mumbai’s innings was salvaged by some impressive power hitting by Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya. Having scored a mere 62/2 in their first 10 overs, Rohit’s boys added a mammoth 129/2 in the final 10 overs.
In T20 theory a team requires 2-3 players to come through in an innings and that’s exactly what happened with MI. While opener De Kock got out for a duck, captain Rohit Sharma steadied the ship with a vital 70 off 45 deliveries.
However, despite Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar failing to get runs, Pollard and Pandya capitalised on Sharma’s innings and some ordinary bowling by Punjab to add 89 runs between overs 16 and 20.
KXIP, on the other hand, has been waiting for its middle order to shine. However, Thursday wasn’t the day either.
Needing a similar anchor role that Pollard and Hardik provided MI, none of Punjab’s middle-order batsmen managed to make their batting count. Karun Nair departed for zero while Maxwell failed yet again, managing only 11 off 18 while Neesham scored 7. Pooran was the only saving grace with a 44 but he desperately lacked a partner at the other end to consolidate the innings.
A QUESTION OF CAPTAINCY: ROHIT VS RAHUL
Thursday’s encounter will also be remembered for its captaincy in a match as crucial as this for both teams.
Rahul will be ruing not saving Sheldon Cottrell for the death overs. While the West Indian finished with impressive figures of 20/1 in his four overs, he was used up within the first ten overs.
Cottrell having gone for 30 runs in an over against Rajasthan’s Rahul Tewatia perhaps led KL Rahul to not keep his strike bowler for the end. The decision proved costly eventually.
Rohit Sharma, meanwhile, made excellent use of spinner Krunal Pandya who had a near flawless spell. Profiting from a brave decision to bring him on in the fourth over itself, Pandya prevented KXIP from taking off in the middle overs. He finished with a game changing spell of 27/1, getting Karun Nair out for a duck.
Also, KL Rahul missed a trick by dropping leggie M Ashwin despite a good performance in his previous matches. He picked up 3 wickets against RCB and 1/16 (1.3 ovs) against Rajasthan. The decision to replace him with Gowtham proved costly, with both ball and bat.
MUMBAI SPINNERS MAKE THE DIFFERENCE
Both Mumbai and Punjab finished with an identical score of 41/2 at the end of their powerplay overs. What happened thereafter is a tale dictated not just by MI’s batsmen but also by their spinners.
If Pollard and Hardik did it with the bat, Krunal and Rahul Chahar did it with the ball. Chahar spun the ball a mile, managed to stifle Maxwell and Pooran for room and kept the pressure up alongside Pandya. He eventually finished with matchwinning figures of 26/2.
Together, Krunal and Chahar bowled eight overs, conceding 53 and picking up 3 vital wickets. Their spells were instrumental in frustrating KXIP’s batsmen.
MUMBAI A SETTLED TEAM
It’s not everyday that seven players in a team perform well to take their team to victory. That is exactly what happened on Thursday night at Abu Dhabi.
If Rohit, Pollard and Hardik shone with the bat, Bumrah, Pattinson, Krunal and Chahar did it with the ball. Mumbai, who are habitual slow starters in the IPL, showed just why they are the most successful side in the tournament’s history.
The secret sauce of MI’s success lies in their core team that hasn’t changed much over the years and infusion of the right people in the right places. While MI appeared to have come into their own with this win, their creases ironed out, KXIP still look unsettled, especially in their middle order and bowling options.
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