Mumbai’s playoff hopes dented by Punjab

  • Kushal Phatarpekar, Visakhapatnam
  • Updated: May 14, 2016 01:38 IST
Wriddhiman Saha’s 56 off 40 balls was instrumental in Kings XI Punjab’s win over Mumbai Indians on Friday. (Vijayanand Gupta/Hindustan Times)

Mumbai Indians’ hopes of making the playoffs received a jolt as Kings XI Punjab romped to a comfortable seven-wicket victory.

The win saw Kings XI move up from the bottom of the table to seventh above the MS Dhoni-led Rising Pune Supergiants.

Heading into the match, both teams needed a win, but for different reasons. While, Mumbai are still in the hunt for a top-four finish, Kings XI needed a win to end the downward spiral.

The odds were stacked against Kings XI, who went into the game with below-par performances and an unnecessary controversy off the field. The bowlers left all of it behind and produced an inspired performance.

Australian Marcus Stoinis was the leader of the pack, scalping four wickets for just 15 runs. Indian pacers Sandeep and Mohit Sharma contributed with two wickets apiece to shore up the effort.

Importantly, it was the bowlers’ success in choking the opposition that led to victory. Sandeep and Mohit bowled a tight line that saw Mumbai slump to a run rate of 4.5 at the end of 10 overs. Stoinis’ entry in the 11th over brought with it a string of wickets.

Mumbai’s top order, which is heavily dependent on skipper Rohit Sharma, struggled to fend off Kings XI’s disciplined bowling.

Rohit hung on till the eighth over but fell as he looked to attack an Axar Patel delivery. Once he departed, it looked downhill with the score at 36 for three. A lower-order fightback from Nitesh Rana (25), Keiron Pollard (27) and Krunal Pandya (19) raised hopes of a competitive total, but it wasn’t to be as Stoinis brought about their downfall.

In reply, the Kings XI batsman produced an equally-solid display. Murali Vijay continued to lead from the front, and brought up his fourth half-century of the season with an unbeaten 54.

He shared a 116-run partnership with Wriddhiman Saha (56) for the second wicket that ruled out any anxious moments and took Kings XI home.

Ahead of the game, Kings XI were staring at the possibility of finishing at the bottom of the table for the second successive season. The win has taken some heat off, but there is a lot of work to be done.

Mumbai, on the other hand, will be ruing the loss that could have eased their pursuit of a top-four finish. They are currently in fifth place with 12 points.

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