Dhawal Kulkarni's exceptional six-wicket haul was, needless to say, instrumental in Mumbai Indians' one-sided seven-wicket victory against Kings XI Punjab. Meanwhile, Suryakumar Yadav's unbeaten 40-ball 59 was all the push that Mumbai needed to successfully complete the 141-run chase.
A fairly one-sided game, favouring the Mumbai Indians, remained so till the end as the Kings XI Punjab were kicked out of the game with 16 balls remaining. The game barely made it to the 18th over of Mumbai’s innings as Rohit and co. sealed another convincing victory, by seven wickets. After won the toss and elected to bowl first, the bowlers kept Punjab in quite a check despite the Chris Gayle(66 off 48) storm. His 54-run partnership with Nicholas Pooran was pretty smooth but since the fourth wicket fell, Punjab’s innings went downhill and they could only manage a total of 140 all out, having lost three wickets in the final over - bowled by Dhawal Kulkarni.
Mumbai’s response to the 141-run chase was a pretty confident one and without too many hiccups. After Quinton de Kock’s fairly early dismissal, Mumbai found another disappointment in Chris Lynn. However, Sharma(34 off 29) stayed for a fairly significant amount of time, enough to stabilize the innings. After Rohit’s departure, it was Suryakumar Yadav(59* off 40) who stayed on till the end of the chase and with a little help from Pollard, won the game for Mumbai. There was not much resistance from Punjab’s spin-heavy bowling attack and they also missed out on using Sheldon Cottrell properly.
To me, the turning point of the game was Nicholas Pooran’s dismissal in the 16th over. Together, Gayle and Pooran had formed a stable fourth-wicket partnership and also fairly accelerated the innings in their 32-ball 54 run partnership. However, after Pooran was dismissed, by Rahul Chahar on 122/4, Punjab could only add another 18 runs in the last 27 balls and also lost all six remaining wickets. Had the partnership carried on, Punjab could’ve added at least 20 odd runs but soon after Pooran’s dismissal, Gayle lost his wicket too.
Highs and Lows
I believe the high of the game was Dhawal Kulkarni untouchable form in the game. He started his spell in the 2nd over of KXIP’s innings and removed KL Rahul in his very first over while only giving away three runs. After a decent spell of 2-0-10-1, he returned in the death overs and bagged five more wickets in the 18th and 20th overs.
According to me, the low of this game was Punjab’s batting performance in the final five overs. With Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran in the middle, and a score of 123/4 at the end of the 16th over, Punjab were still able to add only 17 runs in the last four overs. The rest of the batting line up were walking wickets to Kulkarni, who took them by storm. That killed their chance of getting to a defendable total.
Powerplay exploitation: - KXIP (5/10) and MI (6.5/10)
At the end of the Powerplay, Kings XI Punjab had lost two wickets for a score of 33. KL Rahul(1 off 3) and Mayank Agarwal(9 off 13) were already shown back. Meanwhile, Chris Gayle started to put up a fight and set up a fairly stabilised the innings. However, Punjab couldn’t go above eight runs in the first six overs, especially against the Bumrah-led pace attack.
On the other hand, Mumbai who had a low required rate on their plate used the Powerplay, not exceptionally, but reasonably well. While Punjab were able to get rid of de Kock (9 off 8) and Chris Lynn (2 off 9) early, skipper Rohit Sharma stayed on and form a strong partnership with Suryakumar Yadav. But the highest over in the Powerplay was 10 runs and Mumbai picked up pace only later in the game. At the end of six overs, Mumbai were on 38/2, with 103 required off 14 overs.
Middle overs:- KXIP (8/10) and MI (8.5/10)
The Punjab batting line up were able to add 73 runs, at a run rate of 8.11, with the loss of only one wicket in the nine overs following the end of Powerplay. Together Gayle and Maxwell put up a good partnership in the few overs after the Powerplay until the latter was dismissed in the 12th over. That gave way to the partnership of Gayle and Pooran and the Caribbean energy was high for the time being. In fact, Punjab’s batting in the middle overs was better than the rest of their performance in the game.
Punjab got rid of Rohit Sharma in the 11th over which brought his partnership, a 32-ball 41, with Suryakumar Yadav to an end. But the latter formed another good partnership, 38-ball 66, with Keiron Pollard which remained unbeaten in the end. So in the next nine overs following the Powerplay, Mumbai added 79 runs at a run rate of 8.77 while only losing one wicket. It made the chase even smoother.
Death Bowling: - MI (10/10) and KXIP ( 2/10)
Mumbai’s death bowling, spearheaded by Dhawal Kulkarni was the highlight of the game. After conceding only 10 runs, while also bagging a wicket, in his first spell, the pacer came back in the death overs and completely dominated the Punjab batsmen. Mumbai only conceded 17 runs in the final four overs while dismissing all remaining wickets- six. In his return, Kulkarni gave away only 8 runs, but this he bagged five wickets and hence sported exceptional bowling figures of 4-0-18-6. That was a brilliant show of death overs exploitation.
Meanwhile, Punjab bowlers failed terribly in the death overs since the bowling plan was as such that the game was almost over even before it entered the final four overs of Mumbai’s chase. By the end of the 16th over, Mumbai were already on 127/3 with Yadav and Pollard in good touch. The failure was showcased in the fact that Sheldon Cottrell only got to bowl two deliveries in the deaths, that too after the scores were already level in the 17th over.
Match Frenzy O Meter - 6.5/10
Well, it was a significantly one-sided game throughout, especially as Mumbai bowlers owned the Punjab batsmen. All in all, it was an average low-scoring T20 game to the viewers. However, Kulkarni’s second spell and Gayle’s show were worth an extra point.