IPL 2014 Results: Batsmen Finally Come to the Party as Mumbai Indians End Losing Streak with Win over Kings XI Punjab
By Deepak Vikraman | May 4, 2014 12:21 AM EST
With a sea of blue greeting the embattled Mumbai Indians in their first home match of IPL 2014 at the Wankhede Stadium, the defending champions, winless and more morose than a socialite ignored by the Paparazzi, could only go one way, had to go only one way - with a "W" locked for the first time this season.
The signs were not great after the first innings, with Kings XI Punjab, winning the toss and batting first, posting an it's-not-easy-to-chase-that-down 168 for five in their 20 overs.
The prospects of a first win in IPL 2014 at the sixth time of asking only looked worse with two early wickets, but finally the batsmen combined together brilliantly to give their fans a taste of that much-needed victory.
Rohit Sharma, CM Gautam, Corey Anderson, Aditya Tare and that monster hitter Kieron Pollard all played their parts brilliantly well, as MI eventually coasted home to 170 for five in 19.1 overs.
It was the same old story for MI at the top, with their openers yet again unable to combine to give their side a big start. Ben Dunk opened the innings with CM Gautam for this game as Rohit Sharma reverted back to his regular No.4 position for the Mumbai Indians.
It did not produce a fast start, though, as Dunk fell in the first over, edging one off the swings-the-ball-prodigiously Sandeep Sharma, with Wriddhiman Saha completing a smart diving catch.
Ambati Rayudu, in at No.3, could not make much of an impression either, with Sandeep again coming to the fore, swinging one in brilliantly to trap the right-hander in front of the stumps.
Rohit and Gautam steadied the innings nicely with an alliance of 47 from 41 balls, with the latter playing a few of outstanding shots, including two big sixes off the in-form Sandeep.
Gautam (33, 29b 2x4, 2x6) was clearly given the license to express himself, as Rohit set his stall out to anchor the chase. A couple of quiet overs from Kings XI, however, increased the pressure on the MI batsmen to try and find a boundary, and that led to the dismissal of Gautam, who was lucky to survive early on after Akshar Patel dropped difficult catch, in the tenth over with the right-hander going for a cheeky little reverse-sweep off Rishi Dhawan but missing the ball completely to get caught in front.
In came Corey Anderson, determined to prove his worth, after an underwhelming first five IPL 2014 games. The left-hander looked in the mood right from the start as well, warming that big willow of his up with a six off Dhawan, before taking Patel apart in the 13th over - smashing the left-arm spinner for three fours and a six off consecutive deliveries.
That assault brought down the target to a very achievable 60 from the final seven overs, putting MI firmly perched in the driver's seat. However, two brilliant overs from L Balaji and Mitchell Johnson, put the pressure back on MI, with Balaji following that up by picking up the big wicket of Rohit (39, 34b, 4x4, 2x6).
The Mumbai Indians, though, still had Kieron Pollard in their locker, and with Anderson going hammer-and-tongs, the 45 runs needed from the final four overs, was very much within the realms of possibility.
The twists were far from over, though, with Anderson (35, 25b, 3x4, 2x6), looking to go for a massive six, holing out to Dhawan (4-0-23-2), with the 17th over only seeing four runs conceded.
With 41 required from the final three overs, Pollard had to find that six-hitting zone again; but it was new man Aditya Tare (16, 6b, 1x4, 1x6), who produced the goods in the 18th, smoking Balaji (4-0-38-1) for a four and a maximum to take 16 runs from the over, meaning MI needed 25 from the final two.
Pollard (28, 12b, 2x4, 2x6) sent the partisan capacity crowd into raptures soon after, with a 20-run over off Johnson, with the West Indian finishing the game off with a trademark six over the bowler's head.
Earlier, Glenn Maxwell produced his now taken-for-granted quickfire innings, with Wriddhiman Saha the other surprise package in KXIP's sizeable score.
It was not the greatest of starts, with Kings XI losing both their openers inside four overs - Virender Sehwag run out brilliantly by Rohit in the third over, before Cheteshwar Pujara (19, 18b, 4x4) edged one to wicketkeeper Gautam off a wide delivery from Corey Anderson.
Maxwell came in with his team at 24 for two, and grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck, like he has done so often for club and country over the past few months, dominating the bowlers right from the off to put the pressure back on MI, who were buzzing initially after those two early wickets.
There were not too many outrageous reverse-sweeps from the Aussie, but Maxwell was as effective as ever again, with his 27-ball 45 (5x4, 2x6) setting the game up for the rest of the KXIP batsmen.
Saha, at the other end, was struggling a little to rotate the strike, but the right-hander would take over the mantle wonderfully well once Maxwell fell in the 12th over - holing out at long-on off Harbhajan Singh.
With Saha on 19 from 26 balls at that point, the wicketkeeper scored his next 40 runs from just 21 balls, with a few nice maximums included for good measure. George Bailey and David Miller could not quite hit their slam-bang levels, though, with MI pulling things back nicely in the final few overs, courtesy some outstanding bowling from their main man Lasith Malinga (4-0-25-1), with the slinger conceding just eight runs in his last two overs - although that was offset a little by a 20-run 19th over, with Zaheer Khan also injuring his shoulder in the process.
The total looked good at the start of the second innings, but with the crowd roaring them on, the MI batsmen finally put their hands up to hand KXIP their first defeat this year.
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