Kings XI Punjab lifted from the floor of the VIVO IPL 2016 standings for the first time since 18 April 2016 after they defeated the Mumbai Indians on Friday night. The 7-wicket win was KXIP’s fourth win of the season. After restricting MI to a modest 124-9, KXIP overhauled their target quite comfortably, thanks to a century partnership between Murali Vijay and Wriddhiman Saha.
It is not often that a team opts to bat first, bats out their entire twenty overs, yet finishes with only 124 runs on the board. Yet that is precisely what happened to the Mumbai Indians. MI lost openers Unmukt Chand and Ambati Rayudu in the first three overs of a shaky start. Nitish Rana, who batted at number four, and Rohit Sharma, too found it difficult to get going. The third wicket pair consumed plenty of deliveries, but struggled to get the ball off the square; MI were 21-2 at the end of six overs – the lowest score in the Powerplay period. After Jos Buttler holed out to long off in the 14th over, MI stitched together a 42-run partnership – the highest of the innings – between Kieron Pollard and Krunal Pandya. Both batsmen struggled too, but used aggressive methods to break the shackles; Pollard hit three sixes down the ground, while Krunal hit a four and a six in his 12-ball 19.
t was surprising that MI did not take stock of conditions and alter their ploy mid-way through the innings; their batsmen batted out 65 dot balls and only ran 40 singles in their twenty overs. MI finished at 124-9. For the visitors, Marcus Stoinis was the wrecker-in-chief; he was brought on to bowl just after the Powerplay overs, and demolished the MI middle-order. His scalps included Rana, Buttler, Krunal and Pollard. The Australian returned with his career-best figures in T20 cricket – 4-0-15-4 – also the best figures by a KXIP bowler in VIVO IPL 2016.
When it was their turn to bat, KXIP were clinical. Despite losing Hashim Amla in the very first over of the chase, KXIP cruised to the target – courtesy the 116-run partnership between Murali Vijay and Wriddhiman Saha. Both batsmen went about their job with a precise plan; unlike their opponents who played out several dot deliveries, Vijay and Saha kept finding the gaps and kept the scoreboard ticking all the time.