Before this match, Parthiv Patel had managed only 73 runs in his last five innings and Mumbai Indians had only two wins in six matches. Martin Guptill, who hit 237 in the 2015 World Cup quarter-final and a 19-ball half-century in a T20 against Sri Lanka in January, and former India Under-19 winning captain Unmukt Chand were breathing down Parthiv’s neck. The wicketkeeper-batsman picked out deep backward square leg off a no-ball on 15. He flapped the next ball – a free hit – to David Miller at midwicket. And he survived a close stumping chance on 32. He was then dropped at mid-off on 66. He prospered to make his highest IPL score – 81 off 58 balls – and led Mumbai to a 25-run victory against Kings XI Punjab in Mohali. He later said: “It was an important knock from a personal point of view.”
Parthiv found an ideal foil in Ambati Rayudu, who had a slice of luck of his own when he was dropped on 33. Rayudu pushed on to score 65 off 37 balls in a 137-run partnership, the highest for Mumbai this season, which charged them to 189 for 6.
Kings XI still had a chance when Miller sent Kieron Pollard soaring over long-on to reduce the equation to 58 off 25 balls. Glenn Maxwell was set by then, having scored his first half-century in India after 34 T20 innings. Jasprit Bumrah and Mitchell McClenaghan, though, nailed pinpoint yorkers to seal Mumbai’s third win in their seventh match. This meant that Mumbai became the third team, after Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Daredevils, to defend a total this IPL.
Mumbai were helped by reverse swing and smart field placement. Even when Bumrah and McClenaghan marginally missed their yorkers, Rohit Sharma had Harbhajan Singh at a finer-than-normal fine leg to intercept the paddles and scoops.
Mumbai, however, had a shaky start. Sandeep Sharma got inswing right away and had Rohit nicking behind for a duck. Mitchell Johnson, although wayward, tucked Parthiv and Rayudu up with short balls as Mumbai limped to 25 for 1 in five overs. The next five then went for 52.
It was the sixth over that marked a stark shift in momentum. Parthiv was caught off a no-ball and then whipped Johnson for back-to-back fours. He later took Mohit Sharma for a brace of stylish off-driven fours in the 13th over. Rayudu, meanwhile, took on the spinners. He welcomed Maxwell with a six in the eighth over and hammered 29 runs off the 12 balls he faced from Axar Patel. He fell while attempting a hat-trick of sixes in the 16th over, off the left-arm spinner. At innings break, Rayudu said he and Parthiv had planned to launch the slog early in the innings, instead of holding back.
Parthiv cut loose after bringing up his half-century off 41 balls. Jos Buttler clubbed the second ball he faced over long-on for six before unfurling scoops and reverse scoops. His cameo ended when Mohit bowled him with a back-of-the-hand slower ball in the 18th over. Five balls later, Parthiv miscued Johnson to point. Mohit also dismissed Pollard and Hardik Pandya with his variety in the final over of the innings, but Kings XI would be rooted to the bottom of the table with their fifth defeat in six matches.
M Vijay showed promise early in the chase with three flicked boundaries, but was duped by Tim Southee’s slower ball in the third over for 19 off 13 balls. Manan Vohra was also undone by a slower ball, this time off Bumrah, as Kings XI were pinned down to 32 for 2 by the fifth over.
Harbhajan and Krunal Pandya hardly offered anything in the slot for the batsmen to get under. Shaun Marsh was forced to work the ball into the gaps and was largely subdued in an 89-run stand with Maxwell. Just as he looked to up the ante, he holed out to deep backward square leg in the 15th over, failing to clear the longest part of the ground. By then the asking rate had ballooned to nearly 14 an over.
Maxwell played a calculated innings. He relied on bunts and dabs before finding his hitting range with successive fours off Pollard in the 11th over. He powered to a fifty, with drills and swats, but Bumrah and McClenaghan mixed it up nicely in the end overs. Bumrah sniped off Maxwell and Nikhil Naik in the 18th over. McClenaghan then cleaned up Johnson in the following over to see off the hosts.
“There was some pressure when Maxwell and Marsh were playing, because they are quality batsmen,” Rohith said in his post-match interview. “But we had five bowlers; the way Bumrah and Mitch bowled at the end was fantastic.”
Kings XI, who also had to bear the news of Miller sustaining an injury, have five days to recover, before they play in Rajkot.