Punjab Kings got its IPL-14 campaign back on track here with a nine-wicket victory over Mumbai Indians on Friday.
Needing a modest 132 to win, KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal got off to a rollicking start. The duo collected 15 off Krunal Pandya’s first over – Rahul hitting two successive fours before Agarwal launched a six over extra cover. Rohit Sharma then turned to Jasprit Bumrah, who was pulled over fine leg for six by Rahul. Agarwal brought up the 50 partnership with a boundary before holing out off Rahul Chahar (1 for 19).
Rahul and Chris Gayle struggled to keep the runs ticking over, with the dot balls racking up as Chahar and Jayant Yadav mounted the pressure in the middle overs. The boundary drought ended after 32 balls when Gayle put one away to the fine leg fence. With the ball turning square, there were a few close shaves but Rahul played the sheet-anchor’s role to perfection, hitting a run-a-ball 50. PBKS got over the line with 14 balls to spare, riding on an unbeaten 79-run stand between Gayle and Rahul.
Earlier, batting first, Mumbai Indians’ innings got off to a shaky start after Quinton de Kock made only 3 before dragging Deepak Hooda straight into the hands of Moises Henriques. While runs didn’t reel off the blade of Ishan Kishan – promoted to 3 – skipper Rohit too was slow upfront. The first boundary of the innings came off the last ball of the fifth over when Rohit swept a low full toss behind square.
MI had limped to 21/1 in six overs – its second-lowest powerplay score – when Ravi Bishnoi (2 for 21) got Kishan caught behind in his first over of the season. On a slow turning pitch, Rohit targetted the slow left armer, Fabian Allen. After scoring two back-to-back boundaries off him, Rohit launched one over wide long-on. And when Hooda returned for his second spell, he was pulled over deep midwicket.
Rohit reached his 50 with a boundary to backward point. At the other end, Suryakumar Yadav batted as serenely as he usually does – an inside-out six over extra cover off Arshdeep Singh being the highlight. These two added 79 off 56 for the third wicket and were threatening to cut loose when Suryakumar was caught for 33 off Bishnoi. Next over, Mohammed Shami (2 for 21) had Rohit caught for 63 as PBKS bowlers staged a late comeback to pick four for 34 in the last five. They were duly rewarded with a win.