SK flashback: When KXIP gatecrashed MI's record chase
How often do we see a nail-biting finish where the teams fall short of less than 10 runs to their victory? It was that kind of a match where a team on a losing streak dominated over table-toppers in their home ground.
The Kings XI Punjab arrived in the backyard of the Mumbai Indians after winning their previous match against the KKR. Yet they weren't really having a great season as they had lost exactly half their matches and their spot in the playoffs wasn't booked.
On the other hand, were the gleaming Mumbai Indians. The team had won 9 out of 12 matches in the league, losing against RPS twice and the defending champions SRH. They had their spot in the playoffs secured but had to win this to seal either of the first two places.
The backdrop of the match
11 May 2017. The two teams were to play the game for different gains. The KXIP had to win the remainder of two matches and also hope for SRH's loss in their next match, for a spot in the playoffs. The MI team had to win this match to gain 2 chances to get to the finals of the league.
Both the team, contrary to their overall performance, arrived with different mindsets. The KXIP team was rearing from their win over KKR, who lost the match despite Chris Lynn's outstanding 82 runs. The hosts, however, were returning from a discouraging loss to the SRH. A total of 138 put up by 10 batsmen of the Mumbai team was chased down by 5 batsmen in their side with almost 10 balls remaining.
With the dew setting in later, there was no doubt that the toss-winning captain would opt to chase. Rohit Sharma won the toss and did the expected. Both the squads remained the same, except Ishant Sharma was brought in the place of Swapnil Singh; a bowler with the record of the most expensive over for a bowler who proved to be very expensive in the last match.
Shower of boundaries from Saha and co.
Guptill and Saha, the Punjab openers, were at it from the word go. In the first four overs of the game, four new pacers were introduced and the result hadn't changed. The KXIP were 50-0 at the end of four overs. It was turning out to be one of the best power plays of the season when Guptill threw his wicket away to a Karn Sharma's ball just three balls before the end of the power play.
The leggie applied the required brakes for the hosts. Their next target was to pluck out either of the batsmen in the middle - Saha, who was settled and firing shots and Maxwell, who could prove to be lethal if not sent back early.
The batsmen had other plans. Maxwell joined Saha's party and began exploiting the bowlers. Within the 8th over, the KXIP reached 100 runs. Clearly, the visitors were doing everything right.
Malinga went for 21 runs after Maxwell fired 3 sixes in his over. With an appeal for wickets now and then, Bumrah was the only bowler who was able to dictate his terms. Just when the match was turning hopeless for the MI, the in-form pacer sent back Maxwell who fell 3 short of his half-century.
The next two batsmen, Shaun Marsh and Axar Patel, walked in to support the explosive Saha. The man didn't stop and kept scoring 2-3 boundaries almost every over. In the last 10 overs, Saha added 104 runs to the boards along with the two all-rounders who maintained their strike rates above 140. The KXIP now showed-off a mammoth total of 230, Saha standing atop with 93 runs.
The Paltan broke down with 7 runs left to the destination
Lendl Simmons was the MI's star batsmen proving his worth in every match he played. Parthiv Patel and he took control of the match from the start of 2nd innings. Although not much of firing, the hosts managed to hit 11 boundaries without a loss of a wicket in the power play.
Right after the power play, the dew started acting up and Simmons was dropped by Mohit Sharma. In the same over, Simmons scored his 11th IPL half-century. Parthiv Patel tried scoring some boundaries after his partner's feat but he miscued a lofted shot, after a string of fours, and it safely landed in Manan Vohra's hands.
Wankhede had slowly begun to lose hope. Within an over of Patel's wicket, Simmons followed suit. Next, the captain walked and the crowd roared. He had scored 68 runs in the previous match for a losing cause and was looking to take his team home. However, soon the crowd was silenced yet again when he got out off Rahul Tewatia's bowling. Tewatia had proven to be Maxwell's go-to for breakthroughs and he did his job.
The hosts needed 112 in 8 overs. What followed next was a roller-coaster ride of Wankhede's emotions with dominating quickies and frequent wickets.
Kieron Pollard walked in to join the youngster Nitish Rana in the middle. Given the excellent records of the both in the league, a partnership between them would've been the ideal thing. However, Rana messed his timing and returned to the pavilion after his cameo of 12 runs.
Hardik Pandya walked in and the beaten crowd tried to find their voice again. Both hitters got along for almost 3 and a half overs and sent the ball over the rope 9 times. Right when the MI's hopes were revived, an outside edge off Pandya's bat was caught by Saha.
Until the penultimate over, both Pollard and Karn Sharma, the next batsman in, managed to get the winning requirement down to 23 runs from 12 balls. But, Sharma was bowled out by in-form Mohit Sharma and Harbhajan jaunted towards the pitch. All the eyes were on Pollard now, but the last two overs belonged to the Sharma's.
Sandeep Sharma, with an attempt at keeping Bhajji on strike, gave away only 7 runs in the over. The hosts were left with 16 runs to score in the final one. Pollard was on strike in the last over. In the first ball while scoring two runs, the Windies hitter didn't tap his bat on the crease and thus was awarded only one run. Mohit Sharma, the death-over bowler, was hit for a six in the next ball. 9 runs in 4 balls.
To everyone's surprise, Sharma backed himself and gave away absolutely no runs in the next three balls. A low full-toss, a yorker, and a wider yorker kept the batsman at bay. The last ball was bowled to finish the formalities and Pollard was able to score just one run off it. That was it, KXIP had won!
The momentum, swinging like a pendulum between the two teams, was finally KXIP's. The team was celebrating, 1 out of 2 mandatory wins was done. They had backed themselves through every pressure situation and had defeated the hosts at their home.
Published 11 Apr 2018, 13:45 IST