It was supposed to be a cakewalk for the galacticos of Mumbai Indians. After all, the star-studded blue and gold outfit was taking on the minnows of the Indian Premier League, and at their homeground.
At the end of it, there were quite a few red faces in the home team camp as they were made to eat humble pie by the team from Mohali. A packed Wankhede Stadium watched in stunned disbelief as Kings XI Punjab upset all pre-match calculations to script a fine six-wicket win on Sunday.
It was a huge setback for MI, and it's a performance, which they might look back with regret when the qualification race hots up towards the end of the league. In a format where teams look to make the best of home advantage, Sachin Tendulkar's MI have succumbed to their third defeat in four games at their homeground.
They are left at six point after six games and are in sixth position in the league table. It was the second big result for Kings XI Punjab after beating Kolkata Knight Riders in Kolkata a week ago.
Shaun the star
The star of the day in Kings XI's giant-slaying act was their Australian batsman Shaun Marsh. The left-hand batsman had been below-par so far this season, but on Sunday he reminded everyone of his batting in the inaugural year when he was the top-scorer of the tournament.
The highlight of his unbeaten 68 off 40 balls was the calmness with which he finished off the chase. Needing 20 off 12 balls to win, he didn't panic when Munaf Patel conceded just four off his first four balls in the penultimate over. Marsh carved the fifth ball over the fence and with nine needed off six, he sealed it with a six off the first ball of the final over bowled by Thisara Perera. Punjab were home with a one and two off the next two balls.
Ahead of the game, coach Robin Singh had admitted his team's batting was a cause of concern and again on Sunday, his batsmen didn't do enough to wipe the worrying creases off his forehead.
Despite the return of batting legend Tendulkar, it was not the kind of dominating show expected of a team gunning for the title. The hosts managed to post 163 for six, but were not allowed to bat freely in the slam-bang version of the game where a daring opening assault and an equally aggressive finish is crucial to success.
The MI opening pair of Tendulkar and James Franklin came up with a decent start, but in T20 terms, Kings XI would be happy conceding 39 runs in six overs during the Powerplay period.
MI seemed to have based their strategy on keeping wickets and then going after the bowling towards the end. But the final assault never came. The Kings XI bowlers refused to be daunted by the big names and put up a nerveless performance in the slog overs.
If MI were slow of the blocks, they finished with a whimper too. In the last five overs, they managed just 34 runs.