Mumbai Indians raced to their 5th consecutive successful chase, as they made a light work of Kings XI Punjab’s challenge of 199 runs. Put into bat, Hashim Amla made his first T20 century as Punjab riding on Maxwell’s cameo and Amla’s brilliance posted a total of 198 runs in their home ground at Holkar Stadium, Indore. Mumbai Indians flew away with the match as Jos Butler and Nitish Rana coasted to their fifties and the Indians now sit firmly atop the points table.
With Manan Vohra unwell, Shaun Marsh got his first game of this season of IPL and looked in good touch as the square cuts and “upar” cut (naamkaran did by Sanjay Manjrekar, a cut over the gully fielder) ensured a decent start for Punjab. Hashim Amla on the other end kept the scoreboard ticking with some classy boundaries. After Shaun Marsh departed to a fuller one off McClenaghan, Saha was sent in at number 3 who also departed early.
With Punjab searching for some momentum, Amla came to the party. He charged down the wicket and sent one from Krunal Pandya over long-on for a maximum. The best T20 bowler Lasith Malinga was picked by Amla as the chief target today as he hit 51 runs off him. Amla opened the face of the bat just in time to send a widish delivery from Malinga over the gully and two balls later, he punched one straight down the ground. The slower one was greeted with a massive 97 m biggie and the next one was sliced over square on the off side. The last over by Malinga saw Amla hit him for two consecutive sixes to bring up his first T20 century.
Amla was ably supported by Glenn Maxwell who made 40 off just 18 balls. Maxwell hit the accelerator early as McClenaghan’s third over went for 28 runs. Two length balls went for a maximum as the Punjab captain hit a sizzler off the back foot and a punch over long on. His innings were brought to an end by Jasprit Bumrah who bowled an excellent slower one to skittle the stumps.
After the Amla show, it was the turn of Mumbai openers to fire on a wicket where no bowler would want to bowl again. Parthiv Patel and Jos Butler were in a hurry as they plundered the opposition with sixes and fours. Butler brought the EPL to Indore as he sighted the white cherry like a football. The swing over mid wicket, a flat missile towards mid-off, a whacky pull over square leg and a square cut which disappeared as soon as it hit the bat (that could have even made Hulk go sulk), all were packed with power and timing. Parthiv Patel also played a cameo of 37 off just 18 balls studded with four 4s and two 6s (one of them was an upper cut where he took full fayda of his short height).
Mumbai raced to 82-1 in 6 overs of powerplay. Nitish Rana, the find of IPL 2017 and now the orange cap holder also joined the party and remained till it ended. The pulls, cuts, punches, swings played with ease off spinners and pacers both, all landed in stands. He was caught by a Kings XI player but in the dugout. After Jos Butler departed for 77 off just 37 balls, Rana made sure that Mumbai Indians reach home easily with 27 balls to spare and 8 wickets in hand.
What hit Kings XI Punjab the most was that the Mumbai Indians batsmen hit sixes early in the over which pushed the bowlers in a defensive frame of mind. They have now lost their 4th match on a trot and need to work on their bowling line up. Mumbai Indians have perfected the art of chasing this season of IPL and are currently the most balanced side in the tournament.