Skipper KL Rahul scores 24th IPL half-century as they bounce back from three defeats
That high-scoring thriller against the Rajasthan Royals had seemed a long time ago. Punjab Kings finally turned a corner and arrested their slide by getting the better of none other defending champions Mumbai Indians in Chennai on Friday night.
Skipper KL Rahul led from the front as the Punjab Kings put out the fire of three defeats on the trot, with a comprehensive nine-wicket victory against the five-time winners, at the Chepauk.
Rahul, who eclipsed Virat Kohli’s mark to become the fastest Indian batsman to 5,000 runs in T20s when he took 143 innings to Kohli’s 167, during the previous game against the Sunrisers Hyderabad, knocked a composed and unbeaten 60 from 52 deliveries with three boundaries and three sixes, his 24th IPL fifty.
Rahul and Chris Gayle came up with an unbroken 79-run stand from 65 deliveries for the second wicket after Rahul had earlier stitched together 53 from 45 balls with opening partner Mayank Agarwal, who made 25 from 20 deliveries with four boundaries and a six. That saw the Punjab Kings get past the post with 14 balls still remaining.
Gayle, who had blitzed an unbeaten 175, the highest individual score in the IPL and in the format, against the Pune Warriors in Bengaluru, on this day eight years ago, remained unbeaten on 43 from 35 balls with five fours and two sixes.
Punjab notched their second win in five matches, while the Mumbai Indians suffered their third defeat.
And that’s that from Chennai.
— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) April 23, 2021
Earlier, young leg spinner Ravi Bishnoi and pacer Mohammed Shami picked up two wickets apiece as the Mumbai Indians spluttered to a low total.
The 20-year-old Bishnoi, who was drafted in, in place of M Ashwin, took 2-21, while Shami too returned with 2-21, as the record five-time winners mustered 131-6 in their 20 overs.
Mumbai Indians captain and opener Rohit Sharma top scored with 63 from 52 deliveries, with five boundaries and two sixes, his 40th IPL fifty and his first of this season, while Suryakumar Yadav made a cautious 33 from 27 balls, which had three boundaries and a six. Kieron Pollard remained unbeaten on 16 from 12 balls with one boundary, as the West Indian crossed 500 runs against the Kings.
Put into bat by Punjab Kings skipper KL Rahul, the Mumbai Indians suffered an early setback, losing opener Quinton de Kock after the southpaw had made just three.
The Mumbai Indians were off colour against some tidy bowling from the Punjab Kings, scratching their way to just 21 runs for one wicket in the powerplay. Incidentally, their lowest powerplay score had come against the same team (then Kings XI Punjab) where they had scrambled to 17-3 at the Wankhede Stadium in 2015.
Their first boundary had come in the fifth over when Rohit swept a low full toss from Moises Henriques past short fine leg.
Rohit and Suryakumar were involved in a 79-run stand from 56 balls for the third wicket.
The last time the two teams had met, it took a double Super Over to decide the outcome, with Kings XI Punjab winning that match in Dubai last October.
Both the teams completed their league engagements in Chennai with the Punjab Kings now heading to Ahmedabad to face the Kolkata Knight Riders on April 26, while the Mumbai Indians are off to capital New Delhi to meet the Rajasthan Royals on April 29.