Mumbai Indians got closer to elimination after gearing up for their first win, but slumped to their fifth defeat at a trot as Punjab Kings won a high-scoring IPL thriller by 12 runs on Wednesday. A 199 goal looked imminent as teens Dewald Brevis (49 off 25 balls) and NT Tilak Varma (36 off 20 balls) got close, but Punjab bowlers did well enough to limit MI to 186 for nine at the end from 20 overs. Odean Smith (4/30 in 4 overs) redeemed himself after the horror of the last two balls against Gujarat Titans when he took two wickets in the final over for Punjab.
For Mumbai, eight wins in nine matches with this kind of bowling attack seem almost impossible.
However, if there was one positive run, it was Brevis’ at bat. It took eight balls for Brevis to get going as he unleashed a cover drive and a straight drive from Arshdeep Singh to tee off. A drawn six from Smith calmed his nerves before deciding to wreak havoc on Indian international Rahul Chahar’s nerve.
A boundary was followed by four huge sixes as Chahar first lost height and then his position was deposited in the stands like one long jump after another.
Baby AB’s transformation from boy to man happened with those 29 run overs showing that MI had made a 10-year investment.
He was finally short of his first IPL of fifty, but not before everyone was craving more.
On the other hand, Tilak, who had already impressed, showed a great sense of play by letting Brevis do the heavy lifting before hitting some stunning sixes himself, including a daring slash over a point on Smith.
The duo added 84 runs in just 6.5 overs to speed up the game before their successive layoffs brought Punjab back again as fortunes fluctuated like a pendulum.
Suryakumar Yadav (43 from 30 balls) was not in the best rhythm and Kieron Pollard’s season (10, 11 balls) went from bad to worse.
Finally, it was Surya who took matters into his own hands with a six over extra cover from Vaibhav Arora and then opened the face to cut it over the back point for a six as 33 of the last three overs were needed.
However, it was Kagiso Rabada who took over Surya in the 19th, caught by Smith in the deep end after which there was not much resistance from MI.
Earlier, skipper Mayank Agarwal and veteran Shikhar Dhawan struck their first half-century of the season as Punjab Kings got off to a great start from the openers, putting in a challenging 198 for five.
Punjab Kings have applied the philosophy “attack is the best form of defense” during this edition of the competition and there has been no change in policy as they have added 97 in less than 10 overs to provide a perfect launch pad but Jasprit Bumrah’s (1/28 in 4 overs) brilliance kept the score below 200.
Bumrah’s toe buster, knocking over the dangerous Liam Livingstone, helped MI keep things in check with 99 runs from the last 10 overs.
Not having a great run for this match, Agarwal brought in his usual square from the outside wicket shots and straight lofts from spinners to score 52 from 32 balls.
Dhawan took his own time playing second fiddle but still kept the pace and let Agarwal go for the whole pig during their stand. But then he did accelerate before coming out for 70 out of 50 balls.
It has been Mumbai’s domestic bowlers such as Basil Thampi (2/47 in 4 overs) and Murugan Ashwin (1/34 in 4 overs) who fail to measure match after match, but skipper Rohit Sharma is helpless due to lack of options.
Despite knowing Agarwal’s propensity for making space and hitting offside, Thampi and Tymal Mills led him outside the stump with length balls. When they threw short, the tempo was put to good use.
In Ashwin’s case, the PBKS skipper was supposed to come off the runway to set him straight, but he got his man when Agarwal tried one shot too many.
Dhawan went to his 45th IPL half-ton, but the shot that showed his authority was a disdainful slog of a 137 click delivery from Thampi.
Thampi retaliated by giving Dhawan a hole in the deep end before rookie Jitesh Sharma (30 none of 15 balls) skipped 23 of Jaydev Unadkat (1/44 in 4 overs) in the 18th to regain momentum that had dwindled after a little layoff.
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