Result lifts Mumbai Indians to fifth spot, Punjab Kings go to sixth
Mumbai Indians 137 for 4 (Tiwary 45, Hardik 40*, Bishnoi 2-25) beat Punjab Kings 135 for 6 (Markram 42, Bumrah 2-24) by six wickets
Not for the first time this season, Punjab Kings paid the price for losing their nerve at the death. After failing to score any boundaries in the final four overs to stutter to 135 for 6, their own death bowlers leaked a combination of four fours and three sixes to the power-hitting pair of Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard from the 17th to 19th, rending the last over unnecessary as a 15-minute sequence turned a tense chase into an easy six-wicket win for Mumbai Indians.
WATCH – Kieron Pollard brings up 300 T20 wickets with a double-strike
Hardik made Kings pay for giving him an extra life on 7 in the 14th over when Harpreet Brar spilled a relatively straightforward chance above his head trying to intercept a cut at backward point off Arshdeep Singh. With momentum swinging ever so slightly to Kings after the fall of Saurabh Tiwary in the 16th for 45 to leave Indians needing 40 off the last four overs, Hardik stole it back by flicking Mohammed Shami for four and six over the leg side in the 17th. Pollard that drove a pair of misfired yorkers from Arshdeep over the off side for four and six in the 18th before a trio of boundaries from Hardik off Shami clinched the match one over later as the winning runs were spilled once again over the rope at long-on by Deepak Hooda.
Collapse of the Kings
After a relatively decent start moving to 36 for 0 in the sixth over having been sent in to bat first, Kings innings went haywire in a 15-ball sequence that saw them lose four wickets for 12 runs. Mandeep Singh was the first to go, tied down by Krunal Pandya’s left-arm spin in the powerplay and pressured into trying a sweep to release the pressure only to be pinned lbw for 15. It was Krunal’s 50th wicket in the IPL, making him just the eighth player in the tournament’s history to pull off the 50-wicket, 1000 run career double.
More achievements were unlocked in the seventh over when Pollard had Chris Gayle driving to long-on for 1 followed by KL Rahul mistiming a pull to short fine leg for 21 just two balls later. It was Pollard’s only over of the night but it was all he needed to move up to 300 career wickets in T20 cricket. The mini collapse concluded in the eighth when Nicholas Pooran clumsily played around a full toss from Jasprit Bumrah and was given out lbw for 2, a decision that was upheld on DRS. At 48 for 4, Kings were brought back to respectability thanks to a 61-run stand between Aiden Markram and Hooda, but all their hard work was undone by Mumbai death bowling thanks to a pair of usual suspects.
Bumrah and Coulter-Nile stifle Kings further
Markram started off the 16th with a four clipped off Rahul Chahar. Despite having six wickets in hand and 29 balls remaining, that would prove to be the last boundary of the Kings innings. Markram was bowled missing a sweep next ball to Chahar before the legspinner handed over the death bowling reins to Bumrah and Nathan Coulter-Nile, who were relentless in the final four overs.
Bumrah had Hooda chipping to Pollard at long-off in the 19th for the sixth and final wicket to fall in the innings, though he had another put down on his next delivery on a near collision between himself and Suryakumar Yadav running in from deep midwicket. But he only managed to concede 11 runs off his last two overs. Coulter-Nile was practically just as stingy, giving up 12 off his final 12 balls as Kings ran out of gunpowder once the set pair of Markram and Hooda departed.
Kings stumble again near the finish line
Ravi Bishnoi struck a pair of blows in the fourth over, getting Rohit Sharma to slap a catch to mid-on for 8 before bowling Suryakumar with a googly first ball. Tiwary nearly rounded off a would-be hat-trick sequence but his leading edge fell just short of cover. Still at 16 for 2, Mumbai progressed in first gear for the first half of the chase as Quinton de Kock’s pained innings finally came to an end in the 10th over for 27 off 29 balls when he dragged Shami onto his stumps.
Needing 74 off the last 10, Kings kept Mumbai under pressure but were let down by their fielding in the end. Hardik was dropped twice on the way to his unbeaten 40 off 30 balls, the first one on 7 proving especially costly. Whereas Bumrah and Coulter-Nile showcased their surgical precision at the death, Shami and Arshdeep could not get their lengths right. Pollard’s brief punishment of Arshdeep in the 18th swung momentum fully to Mumbai and cemented his Player of the Match award ahead of both Hardik and Tiwary when combined with his double-wicket over in the first half of play which claimed Gayle and Rahul.
Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo’s USA correspondent @PeterDellaPenna