Vijay, Saha Shine as Kings XI Punjab Beat Mumbai by Seven Wickets
Kings XI Punjab beat Mumbai Indians by seven wickets at Visakhapatnam on Friday.
Kings XI Punjab put the brakes on their summer of discontent as they notched up a convincing seven-wicket win over defending champions Mumbai Indians at Visakhapatnam on Friday.
Medium pacer Marcus Stoinis led the way with four wickets as a disciplined Kings XI Punjab restricted Mumbai Indians to a modest 124 for nine in the stipulated 20 overs.
Stoinis picked up figures of 4/15 in his full quota of four overs after Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma elected to bat.
In reply, Kings XI Punjab chased down the target of 125 with three overs to spare.
Skipper Murali Vijay, by far the struggling team’s best batsman in the ninth season of the IPL, once again led from the front with an unbeaten 54 off 52 balls, while the improving Wriddhiman Saha compiled a brisk 56 off 40 deliveries.
Walking out to bat after the departure of Hashim Amla, Saha put on a match-winning partnership of 116 runs for the second wicket with Vijay to help KXIP register their fourth win in 11 outings. The duo consumed only 14.2 overs to stitch together the century stand.
As Kings XI Punjab raced towards the victory target, Saha was bowled by Mitchell McClenaghan, which, however, did not matter in the end. Glenn Maxwell though failed to open his account.
Saha struck six boundaries and a six in his strokeful knock, while Vijay hit five fours and cleared the fence.
While MI stayed at the fifth position with 12 points, Kings XI Punjab moved a step up to be in seventh place with eight points.
Earlier, Mumbai Indians were off to a disastrous start, losing two wickets for just eight runs on the board within the third over of the innings.
Playing in place of Parthiv Patel, Unmukt Chand (0) could not make the rare opportunity count as he got out to a terrible shot off the bowling of Mohit Sharma.
Ambabti Rayudu was out to a delivery that swung in prodigiously and hit the off and middle stumps. Rayudu, too, was dismissed for a duck off Sandeep Sharma’s bowling.
Mumbai Indians were dealt a body blow when they lost the in-form Rohit, bowled by left-arm spinner Axar Patel. Rohit made 15 off 24 balls with a lone boundary.
The reigning champions sank deeper as they lost Nitish Rana (25) followed by the big wicket of Jos Buttler (9).
However, MI still had the firepower of Kiron Pollard and the burly West Indian did not disappoint his team, smashing a flurry of sixes. MI gained some momentum by scoring 17 runs in the 16th over bowled by Axar.
Pollard was well supported by Krunal Pandya as he also, on and off, found the fence before holing out at the deep to end a sixth-wicket partnership of 42 that came off just 19 balls.
Stoinis then returned to dismantle Pollard’s off stump and again pegged MI back at a crucial juncture. While Pollard smashed 27 off 20 balls with the help of three sixes, Pandya contributed a 12-ball 19, hitting a boundary and six.
Harbhajan Singh remained not out on 14 off 10 balls, hitting a boundary and a six.
Stoinis was supported by Sandeep Sharma (2/11) and Mohit (2/26).
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