x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

IPL: Mumbai Indians survive spirited fight from Kings XI Punjab

Captain Rohit Sharma leads by example to take team further up the table.

File picture of Lasith Malinga from 2012 IPL. The Mumbai Indians bowler had figures of 1-39 in his four overs. Vijayanand Gupta / Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
File picture of Lasith Malinga from 2012 IPL. The Mumbai Indians bowler had figures of 1-39 in his four overs. Vijayanand Gupta / Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Rohit Sharma, the Mumbai Indians captain, was at the heart of another thrilling win for his side, with Kings XI Punjab overcome by a margin of four runs. Rohit clubbed a 39-ball 79, with 26 of those runs coming in the final over from David Hussey, who was leading Punjab after Adam Gilchrist dropped himself. It proved the difference as Mumbai secured their sixth win of the season.

Having opted to bat, they were under pressure early on. Praveen Kumar bowled Sachin Tendulkar (9) to give Punjab the early advantage, but Dinesh Karthik set about reviving the innings with some big shots. But having scored a 19-ball 25, Manpreet Gony sent him back with a delivery that bounced, and dropped on to the stumps via a defensive prod.

Dwayne Smith, who had been quiet till then, struck consecutive boundaries off Gony and a mighty six off Piyush Chawla, before another attempted maximum was caught in the deep.

Kieron Pollard was subdued by his usual standards, and managed only an unbeaten 21-ball 20. But Rohit more than made up, cutting loose as the last five overs produced 76 runs.

Rohit took on Gony and Azhar Mahmood, but he left the best for last. Hussey found it hard to get his length right and Rohit punished him with three consecutive sixes, two of them over long-on and one behind midwicket.

In response, Punjab were a mess. They lost their two young Indian batsmen, Mandeep Singh and Manan Vohra, within the first three overs. Mandeep (9) fell to an excellent yorker from Lasith Malinga, and in the next over, Vohra (1) lobbed an easy catch to point.

Hussey and Shaun Marsh, who had replaced Gilchrist, added 39, with Hussey hammering Malinga for 15 and then hitting consecutive fours and a six off Dhawal Kulkarni.

Marsh (10) fell to an excellent catch at the deep by Pollard, before Hussey himself departed after an 18-ball 34, caught by Mitchell Johnson on the boundary.

Wickets continued to tumble, but David Miller's resilient and strokeful 56, which included five big sixes, caused Mumbai some worry late on. He was dismissed in the 18th over by Johnson, but Punjab still had a chance, with Praveen displaying some handy batting skills. It came down to five from the last ball, but Mumbai prevailed.

Manoj Narayan is a sub editor at Wisden India.

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