If this were a competition to see which team bowled less poorly on a good batting surface, then the Mumbai Indians would emerge happier of the two teams after its six-wicket win over Punjab Kings at the IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali on Wednesday.
After becoming the first team in IPL (Indian Premier League) history to register four 200-plus totals in a row, Punjab was blown to smithereens by Impact Player Suryakumar Yadav (66, 31b) and Ishan Kishan (75, 41b) in the pursuit of 215.
Suryakumar’s pre-game routine of visualisation today, when compared alongside most boundaries he hit during his knock — especially the cut, the slice, and the wristy pickup shot over short-fine to reach a 23-ball 50 — reaffirms why he is one of the most feared T20 batters in world cricket. Batting as if endowed with foresight, PBKS bowlers had no answer to SKY’s efficiency behind square.
He was well supported by Ishan Kishan, who slammed a 29-ball 50 and ensured the early dismissals of Rohit Sharma and Cameron Green did not hurt. Suryakumar and Ishan fell after adding 116 (55b) for the third wicket but Tim David and Tilak Varma, who hit a hat-trick of boundaries against Arshdeep Singh in the 17th over, ensured they got home with seven balls to spare.
Earlier, Punjab rode on an unbroken 119-run, 53-ball fourth-wicket partnership between Liam Livingstone and Jitesh Sharma. After 10 overs, PBKS was 95 for three when Livingstone and Jitesh pushed the accelerators. Livingstone reached his fifty off 32 balls and then hit a hat-trick of sixes against Jofra Archer (0 for 56).
MI quicks bowled a combination of slower and shorter balls up front to force batters to hit to the big square boundaries. Rohit had catching men behind square either side for Dhawan, but none of the MI pacers tested him with well-directed short balls.
Dhawan was eventually stumped off leggie Piyush Chawla, who also removed Matthew Short. This was the solitary high point in MI’s bowling. But the batters ultimately spared MI’s blushes.