Gayle slams another half century in loss to Mumbai

Chris Gayle celebrates his fourth half century in five innings for the Kings XI Punjab. (Photo courtesy of BCCI)

(IPL) The Mumbai Indians lifted from the floor of the VIVO IPL 2018 standings after they defeated Kings XI Punjab by six wickets at the Holkar Cricket Stadium last night. After opting to bowl and restricting the hosts KXIP to 174-6, MI chased down the runs in 19 overs riding on the back of a well-constructed half-century from Suryakumar Yadav and middle-order blitzes from Captain Rohit Sharma and Krunal Pandya.

Chasing 175, MI were cautious at the start – crawling to 39-1 in the first six overs. Suryakumar Yadav feasted on one bowler – Ankit Rajpoot – but played out the others respectfully; he scored 31 runs from 18 balls off Rajpoot, and made 26 from 24 balls against the rest. After Yadav was dismissed for 57 in the 12th over, Hardik Pandya (23), Rohit Sharma (24 not out) and Krunal Pandya (31 not out) completed the job.

Suryakumar Yadav was named Man-of-the-Match for his innings of 57 from 42 balls. (Photo Courtesy of BCCI)

Earlier in the evening, put in to bat, Chris Gayle and KL Rahul stitched together their fifth  50-plus partnership of the season and gave KXIP a platform from which they could have scored 200. But after Rahul (24 from 20 balls) was dismissed in the seventh over, the innings lost momentum. Some of KXIP’s decision-making contributed to that too: the out-of-form Yuvraj Singh was sent out to bat at number three (ahead of Mayank Agarwal, whose season strike-rate was 136) and the returning Axar Patel was sent out to bat at number five. Together, Yuvraj and Axar contributed 27 from 26 balls.

Gayle made 50 – his fourth 50-plus score in five innings this season – and would finish the innings’ top-scorer. The Jamaican was slow to begin with; he was two from nine balls, before exploding and adding 48 off the next 31 balls. The left-hander hit six fours and two sixes during his stay in the middle.

Karun Nair made 23 from 12 balls, and a last over blitz from Marcus Stoinis (29* from 15 balls) took KXIP to 174-6.

High on confidence, Suryakumar Yadav added more runs to what was already his best IPL season. The 27-year old scored 57 – his third half-century of the season – and laid the platform for MI’s run-chase. Yadav dominated the opening partnership – contributing 28 runs to the 38-run stand – and then settled down; he brought up his half-century in the tenth over when he cut away a wide delivery through point – getting to the milestone in 34 balls. He was dismissed in the following over when he miscued a knuckle ball from Stoinis and the skier was pouched by KL Rahul.

Yadav scored the majority of his runs through the leg-side; the three sixes were hits over the sight-screen, one over midwicket, and one backward of square.

Ishan Kishan made 25 from 19 balls and was involved in a 42-run second-wicket stand with Yadav. Hardik Pandya, who came out to bat at four, made a brisk 23, aided with two fours and a six.

MI were 120-4 after 15.3 overs when Hardik was dismissed. That’s when Rohit and Krunal turned on the heat; the pair dealt in boundaries and scored the required 55 runs in 3.3 overs. While Rohit’s knock was about elegance, Krunal plundered the KXIP bowlers. Rohit’s 24 – off 15 balls – contained a boundary and two sixes (both off Mujeeb ur Rahman in the 17th over), while Krunal’s 31 – made from 12 balls – contained four boundaries and two sixes.

Krunal opened his account with a boundary, and then added 24 runs off five consecutive balls; after picking up 4, 4, 6 off the final three balls of the 18th over bowled by Stoinis, he hit Andrew Tye for a 4 & 6 when he got on strike the following over.

Bumrah was MI’s stand out bowler. In a ground with short boundaries and on a good pitch, the pacer finished with sensational figures of 4-0-19-1 – this despite bowling two overs in the power play and one over at the death. Barring the first ball half-volley – which was hit for a six by KL Rahul, Bumrah generally bowled back of a length and cramped the batsmen for room, and did not concede any further boundary.

Ravichandran Ashwin was KXIP’s best bowler. Bowling his mixture of off-breaks and leg-breaks, Ashwin was a picture of consistency – landing the ball in and around the good-length area repeatedly; he only conceded one boundary – a slog-sweep by Ishan Kishan off the penultimate ball of his spell. Ashwin, who opened the bowling, bowled out by the 10th over; the KXIP captain returned economical figures of 0-23.

Both teams were pretty much neck-to-neck at the end of 15 overs: KXIP were 123-3, while MI were 118-3. KXIP added 51-3 in their last five overs, while MI managed to score 58-1 between overs 16 & 19.

Brief Scores:

Kings XI Punjab 174-6 (Chris Gayle 50, Marcus Stoinis 29*) lost to

Mumbai Indians 176-4 in 19.0 Overs (Suryakumar Yadav 57, Krunal Pandya 31*, Mujeeb ur Rahman 2-37) by 6 wickets.

Man of the Match:

Suryakumar Yadav, for his 42-ball 57.

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