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Kings XI steamrollers Mumbai Indians

Rakesh Rao
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All-round show helps the host skittle out the table-leader for a paltry 87

SKIP, I DID IT! Bhargav Bhatt (left), who sent Mumbai Indians crashing to defeat, is cock-a-hoop even as captain Adam Gilchrist (right) rushes to congratulate him. — Photo: PTI
SKIP, I DID IT! Bhargav Bhatt (left), who sent Mumbai Indians crashing to defeat, is cock-a-hoop even as captain Adam Gilchrist (right) rushes to congratulate him. — Photo: PTI

Given a choice, Sachin Tendulkar would have loved to lose the toss for the ninth time this season, if that meant a ninth victory for Mumbai Indians. For a change, he called right but thereafter, Kings XI Punjab did not put a foot wrong.

Kings XI, needing to win all its five remaining matches, scored a huge confidence-boosting 76-run victory to end its five-match losing streak. Going by the form of the teams involved, this should also rank as the biggest upset of the season — the lowest placed crushing the one at the top.

With its place in the play-off firmly sealed, Mumbai could, afford a few losses in its remaining games without really feeling the pain.

But what proved most embarrassing for Mumbai was to be bowled out for just 87 runs in only 12.5 overs — its lowest ever and a second sub-100 tally in the Indian Premier League.

Neither complacency nor the urge to experiment resulted in a third defeat for Mumbai Indians. An unchanged combination paid for the collective failure of its top-order batsmen to get going. The not-so-tested middle-order had an opportunity to stand up to the challenge and be counted but Kings XI allowed no such liberties.

Praveen Kumar packed off openers Sachin Tendulkar and Aiden Blizzard to push the team back. With the stumping of Rohit Sharma and a shocking run-out of off-form Andrew Symonds adding to Mumbai's tale of horror, and Rayudu and Suman having off days, there was little doubt that it was Kings XI's night.

The sudden finish came about when Man-of-the-Match, left-arm spinner Bhargav Bhatt wiped out the last four wickets, including that of the dangerous Kieron Pollard, who was dropped twice in the space of three deliveries.

Triple strike

In fact, Bhatt struck thrice in four deliveries as Kings XI landed the knockout punch in a hurry. However, buried under the debris of defeat was Munaf Patel's five-wicket haul for which he should give Pollard almost equal credit for holding two spectacular catches.

Aiden Blizzard held three to complete Munaf's dream haul, but in a losing cause.

Kings XI had reason to be pleased with the total of 163. It crossed the 150-run mark for the first time in five games and the bowlers obviously had something to bowl at.

The top-order proved effective without looking devastating. After Paul Valthaty fell for a run-a-ball 14, Gilchrist and fellow Aussie Shaun Marsh raised 70 runs to give plenty of confidence to those in the dug-out.

Given his poor run, Gilchrist must have felt better after scoring a run-a-ball 28, during which he was hit on the back of the helmet by a Malinga delivery. Marsh was once again the pick, dominating the bowling with some clean strikes.

Dinesh Karthik came good with a strokeful knock before the rest of the batting contributed in bits and pieces. In fact, Mumbai ended up conceding a record 22 extras, the highest ever in Kings XI's innings.

Eventually, it all added up to give the Kings XI triumph a stamp of authority.

Kings XI Punjab: P. Valthaty c Blizzard b Munaf 14 (14b, 3x4), A. Gilchrist c Rayudu c Malinga 28 (28b, 2x4, 1x6), S. Marsh c Pollard b Munaf 43 (34b, 5x4), D. Karthik c Blizzard b Munaf 31 (24, 4x4, 1x6), D. Hussey c Blizzard b Munaf 0 (3b), Mandeep Singh (run out) 8 (5b, 1x6), B. Sharma (not out) 6 (4b), R. Harris c Pollard b Munaf 6 (4b, 1x4), Praveen Kumar b Malinga 2 (2b), S. Srivastava (not out) 3 (2b); Extras (b-2, lb-13, w-7): 22; Total (for eight wkts. in 20 overs) 163.

Fall of wickets: 1-22, 2-92, 3-128, 4-129, 5-145, 6-148, 7-155, 8-157.

Mumbai Indians bowling: Harbhajan 3-0-20-0, Malinga 4-0-24-2, Munaf 4-0-21-5, Kulkarni 2-0-25-0, R. Sharma 2-0-24-0, Suman 3-0-23-0, Pollard 2-0-11-0.

Mumbai Indians: A. Blizzard c Gilchrist b Kumar 15 ( 10b, 3x4), S. Tendulkar c Marsh b Kumar 6 ( 9b, 1x4), R. Sharma st. Gilchrist b Bipul 5 ( 5b, 1x4), A. Symonds (run out) 8 ( 6b, 1x4), A. Rayudu c Bipul b Srivastav 13 ( 19b, 2x4), T. Suman c Kumar b Harris 4 ( 5b), K. Pollard c Marsh b Bhatt 17 ( 11b, 1x6, 1x4), Harbhajan Singh b Bhatt 12 ( 7b, 1x4, 1x6) 12, D. Kulkarni c and b Bhatt 2 (4b), S. Malinga (not out) 0 ( 0b), M. Patel lbw b Bhatt 0 ( 1b); Extras (b-1, w-4): 5; Total (in 12.5 overs): 87.

Fall of wickets: 1-19, 2-27, 3-27, 4-44, 5-54, 6-55, 7-69, 8-87, 9-87.

Kings XI Punjab bowling: Kumar 4-0-19-2, Bhatt 2.5-0-22-4, Sharma 2-0-15-1, Harris 2-0-13-1, Srivastav 2-0-17-1.

Man of the Match: Bhargav Bhatt .

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