It was all going swimmingly for the Mumbai Indians. But a couple of matches have given them more than a wake up. Now thanks to a rejuvenated Kings XI Punjab performance, MI will know their spot in the IPL 3 semi finals is far from sealed in concrete.
One would not have thought Mumbai Indians were going to give away this match, not the manner in which Sachin Tendulkar and Ambati Rayudu recovered from the early loss of Shikhar Dhawan. Besides this was supposed to the no-contest between the table toppers and the ultimate laggers of the IPL 3. But think again.
After reaching fifty runs in the sixth over, Piyush Chawla gave the KXIP team arguably the biggest breakthrough of the match. Ambati Rayudu was the first to go, after starting promisingly on thirty-three runs from only eighteen balls. But Rayudu was not the only player Chawla foxed. Saurabh Tiwary left his crease without a second thought and a prompt stumping by the KXIP captain, Kumar Sangakkara, sent him back. But Chawla had the best wicket of the night of Tendulkar’s even as the latter looked to steer Mumbai out of trouble with twenty-nine runs.
MI were reduced to four down for seventy runs at the half way stage and it was either the too silent Kieron Pollard or the comeback kid, JP Duminy, or both that needed to get Mumbai Indians back on the road. Duminy made thirty-five runs and Pollard and R. Sathish showed they were not out of form, but it still meant that the stutter caused by Chawla and the breaks applied by Irfan Pathan, who picked three wickets only to have Luv Ablish finish it nicely with two more wickets, the Mumbai Indians were still short, making just 154.
But even seemingly achievable targets can seem overwhelming for underperforming teams such as the KXIP. However, nothing like a good start to get over the jitters and the hosts got plenty of that.
KXIP unleashed Adrian Barath finally but he took his time while Mahela Jayawardene was on fire, scoring thirty-one runs from eighteen balls but more importantly, making the task harder for the Mumbai Indians while giving his team the cushion to carry forth in confidence.
His dismissal then only paved the way for a strong forty-six run partnership between Barath who gained ground while Sangakkara brought his experience to lend weight with a useful half century that was really make it known to the MI team that the writing was on the wall. And it was as KXIP romped home an excited lot with four balls to spare but comprehensive to humble the current table toppers.
It’s not over yet.
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