As we get into the final hours of IPL 9, some interesting results keep coming up. The teams get closer and further to a spot in the playoffs, by the minute. One such story unfolded, as Mumbai Indians took on the Kings XI Punjab, in Vizag – the adopted home ground the Mumbai Indians. A ground which has been difficult to gauge whether batting first or second is better as the pitch has supported seam bowlers a lot, sometimes even more in the second innings. KXIP are the lowest ranked team in this season till now and the Mumbai Indians would have fancied an easy 2 points from this match to move up the ladder. Little did they know what waited ahead.
Mumbai Indians won the toss and elected to bat first, keeping in mind the pitch of vizag which improves for seam bowling in the second innings.
One thing they probably missed was that the batsmen needed to put up some show first for the bowlers to defend. Punjab seamers have been bowling well consistently now and it proved the best outing for them. Rohit Sharma opened with Unmukt Chand, playing his first match of the season. Chand did not disturb the scorers and was out for a duck in the 2nd over. Mr. Consistent for Mumbai, Ambati Rayudu followed with a duck too jolting Mumbai to be 8 for 2 in 3 overs. A dubious record followed as Mumbai ended the powerplay at 21 for 2 being the lowest score in a powerplay this season for any team. Mumbai never recovered really and gave away wickets regularly. Mumbai Indians were counting on Jos Buttler and Keiron Pollard for some sort of a recovery to post a decent total but the introduction of Stoinis from Punjab ended all hopes from Mumbai. Stoinis rocked Mumbai with 4 wickets in his 4 overs for just 15 runs breaking the spine of Mumbai batting.
Sandeep and Mohit Sharma picked 2 wickets apiece to halt Mumbai at 124 for 9 in their 20 overs. The Vizag pitch helps bowlers but 124 was probably a good 20-25 runs short of a fighting total.
Mumbai started well by getting opener Hashim Amla out for a duck in the very first over by Tim Southee. They would have thought the fight was on but Punjab Skipper Murli Vijay continued his superb run of form along with new man Wridhiman Saha to blunt the Mumbai Attack to score a half century each to end all Mumbai hopes for a fightback. Both had a partnership of 116 runs for the 2nd wicket in a chase of 125 runs. Saha got out trying to finish the match in a hurry while next man Glen Maxwell added another failure to his kiity this season to fall for another duck.
There were no more hiccoughs for Punjab as the new man Gurkeerat Mann lauched one over the ropes to finish the match with 3 overs and 7 wickets to spare. Murli Vijay was unbeaten on 54 runs while Saha scored 56 in quick time.
The win means everything to Punjab who would think they still have a remote mathematical chance to make it to the playoffs. The manner of the victory would instill a lot of self belief in them as they destroyed the Mumbai Innings famed batting line up completely and batted superbly while chasing. Mumbai on the other hand have their task cut out as it is pretty clear that they need to win all their remaining matches to qualify.