Rahul and bowlers lead Punjab to a comfortable victory

It was the 17th match in the IPL 2021 as Mumbai Indians took on the Punjab Kings. Mumbai Indian who had a mixed start to the IPL this year winning 2 out of their 4 matches will look to take advantage of Punjab Kings who are on a freefall. KL Rahul won the toss for the Kings and decided to bat first. Kings made a change to their lineup bringing in the young spinner Ravi Bishnoi in place of M Ashwin. MI on the other hand was unchanged from their last match.

Hooda strikes early

The pitch in Chennai had a lot of spins to offer and Punjab was looking to certainly capitalize on that. Captain Rahul brought Deepak Hooda to bowl the second over. De Kock who lost his patience gave Hooda the charge on the fifth to play an expansive shot. There was no timing as the ball arrived at QdK a lot slower than he anticipated and he ended up hitting it just as far as Moises Henriques at mid-on.

With the pitch slow the batsmen struggled to get going. This was evident in the performance of Ishan Kishan. Kishan was struggling to middle the ball and ended up chasing after this ball that turned away from him. Rahul took a sharp catch behind the stumps to send Kishan packing for 6 off 17 balls. A sharp bowling effort from Hooda and Henriques ensured that MI was restricted for 26 for 2 at the end of the powerplay.

The Chepauk pitch has been troublesome for batsmen from the start but it is perhaps at its worst for them in this game. None of the batsmen looked getting into a rhythm. Some sharp bowling from the Punjab spinners ensured that MI was restricted for 66 for 2 after 12 overs.

IPL fifty number 40 for Rohit Sharma

With MI batsmen struggling to score runs, Rohit Sharma was slowly chipping in runs and trying to keep the scoreboard ticking. Sharma completed his 40th IPL fifty in the 14th over. It would be crucial for Rohit to bat till the end if MI wants to post a winning total.

MI were 106 for 2 after the end of 16 overs. With only 4 overs left Suryakumar decides to go for a reverse sweep against Ravi Bishnoi. The PBKS leggie got the ball to bounce a little more than Suryakumar would’ve anticipated, and ended up top-edging the ball. Chris Gayle tracked back a little and completed a safe catch.

Rohit Sharma followed Suryakumar in the next over, Sharma flicked Shami’s attempted yorker that became a low full toss towards the square leg fence, but Fabian Allen took a good catch to send the MI captain packing for 63 off 52. With both, the set batsmen out it were up to Hardik and Pollard to finish it off for MI.

MI finishers failed to deliver again as they finished at 131 for 6 at the end of 20 overs. Some good bowling performances from Ravi Bishnoi and Mohammed Shami who finished with identical figures of 2 for 21. Deepak Hooda and Arshdeep Singh chipped in with a wicket each too. This is a good fightback from Punjab after their massive defeat in the last game.

Punjab Kings off to a flying start

While on one hand MI batsmen struggled to get going, it was a different case for Punjab altogether. Both the Punjab openers put early pressure on the MI bowlers.  Rohit Sharma, like KL Rahul, brought a spinner in for the second over. However, the result was not what Rohit would have wanted as Krunal Pandya ended up giving 15 runs from the over. By the end of the powerplay, Punjab Kings were 45 for no loss.

MI finally got the much crucial breakthrough in the 8th over. Mayank Agarwal who decided to take on Rahul Chahar, the connection wasn’t good enough from Mayank, resulting in a catch for Suryakumar Yadav at long-on.

Chris Gayle came on in at number 3. Over the past couple of years, Gayle has been known to take some time to settle down in the middle. Today also the big West Indian made just 3 off 10 balls. However, the player Gayle is he just needs a few balls to turn the game around. At the end of 12 overs, Punjab was 70 for a loss of just 1 wicket. Both the batsmen successfully navigated through the middle overs to lead Punjab to a comfortable victory with 14 balls spare.

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