INDORE, India (AP) Allrounder Krunal Pandya and Rohit Sharma blitzed 56 runs off 21 balls for Mumbai Indians to stun Kings XI Punjab by six wickets and stay in Indian Premier League playoffs contention on Friday.
The visiting Indians were in dire straits when Pandya’s brother, Hardik Pandya, lost his middle slump to a wild swing at Andrew Tye in the 16th over. Krunal Pandya joined Sharma with 55 required from 27 balls.
Krunal flicked Tye to the boundary off his first ball, and he and Sharma blew away Punjab to win with six balls to spare.
Krunal hit 31 not out off 12 balls, including four fours and two sixes, and Sharma made 24 not out off 15 balls.
They totaled 176-4 in reply to Punjab’s 174-6 and kept Mumbai mathematically alive with only their third win.
”We have been in winning positions in eight games, but couldn’t finish it,” Krunal said. ”It feels good to contribute with the bat. Anything is chase-able here because the ground is small.”
Chasing 175, Mumbai got off to a quick start thanks to Evin Lewis (10) and Suryakumar Yadav (57 off 42 balls) putting on 38 runs for the opening stand.
Lewis and Ishan Kishan (25) didn’t help the strike-rate much, and both were dismissed by Mujeeb Ur Rahman (2-37).
Yadav holed out off Marcus Stoinis (1-37) after scoring his half-century from 34 balls, as Mumbai’s middle-order came under pressure.
Hardik Pandya (23 off 13 balls) came out at No. 4 to counter Punjab’s spin resources, but his dismissal reduced Mumbai to 120-4 in the 16th over.
Enter his brother.
Chris Gayle scored his third half-century of the competition, 50 off 38 balls, after Punjab was made to bat first at its new home ground.
Lokesh Rahul (24) and Gayle put on a quick 54 but they lost momentum after Rahul’s dismissal, as Yuvraj Singh (14), promoted to No. 3, failed to get going.
Gayle, though, was unperturbed as he hit six fours and two sixes. He was dismissed by Ben Cutting, and Punjab found it tough to match the scoring rate.
Yuvraj was run out in a mix-up with Karun Nair (23), who holed out in a bid to accelerate the innings.
Axar Patel’s (13) pinch-hitting didn’t work, and it was left to Marcus Stoinis (29 not out off 15 balls) and Mayank Agarwal (11) to produce a good finish.
They put on 29 runs off 17 balls for the sixth wicket, with Stoinis taking 22 runs off Hardik Pandya’s (1-44) last over. Yet, it wasn’t enough for Punjab to return to winning ways.
”We didn’t get enough runs on the board. If not for Stoinis, we wouldn’t have got 174,” skipper Ravichandran Ashwin said. ”If we keep on playing like this, we will get the necessary points to qualify for the knockouts.”
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