IPL 2017 Match #22 report: Kings XI Punjab vs Mumbai Indians at Indore
In a nutshell:
The Kings XI Punjab put up 198 after a sublime Hashim Amla 100. The Mumbai Indians chased it down in 15.3 overs, with a match winning 77 from Jos Buttler.
How it unfolded:
The Kings XI had a slow start after the Mumbai Indians put them in to bat, with just 69 coming of their first ten, for the loss of just Shaun Marsh, who chipped a full ball to midwicket off Mitchell McClenaghan for 26 off 21 balls. Wriddhiman Saha never really got going and the scoring was halted by good bowling. Saha fell for 11 off 15, bowled off Krunal Pandya. The scoring picked up when Amla and Maxwell got going, before Maxwell was eventually dismissed for 40 off 18 balls, bowled by Jasprit Bumrah. Stoinis then holed out the next over, taking the score to 166 off 17.2 overs. Amla accelerated and single handedly hauled the score to 198, scoring a hundred in the last over. They finished with 198 for 5, Amla ending on 104* off just 60 balls, with Axar Patel finishing with 4 off the 5 balls he faced.
The Mumbai Indians made a mockery of the usually steep total by chasing it down with 27 balls and 8 wickets to spare. The openers put on 81 together in just 5.5 overs, hitting the Punjab bowlers all round the tiny oval. Buttler and Nitish Rana continued the barrage of boundaries after Parthiv Patel toe-ended a slower ball to mid off off Marcus Stoinis for 37 off just 18 balls. Nitish Rana and Buttler took the the score to 166 in just 13.1 overs, hitting the under-par Punjab attack to all parts. Buttler then holed out to mid-off off Mohit Sharma for 77 off 37. Hardik Pandya (15* off 4) and Nitish Rana kept the foot on the gas, and saw the Mumbai Indians home by thrashing the bowlers around some more. Rana ended with the orange cap and 62* off 34 balls and Mumbai pushed themselves up to the top berth.
Where the game was won:
Punjab’s bowling has taken a lot of flak. They play Sandeep Sharma and Mohit Sharma in similar roles, play Ishant Sharma, who is notorious for being a terrible limited overs bowler and their overseas all-rounder isn’t as much of a bowler as the management thinks. Their utter confusion as to what to do when the Mumbai openers got going was not only appalling, but embarrassing at a level as high as the IPL. It was a difficult ground to defend on, but a score of 198 should not be chased down in less than 16 overs by a top-class bowling attack. The lengths were way off, the bowlers’ confidence was low and morale will definately have taken a hit after a 4th successive loss on the trot.
It’s difficult to fault a batting unit that put up 198, but this was a 220-230 wicket. The order chosen was at fault, as it often is with Punjab. On one of the flattest wickets and one of the smallest boundaries in the IPL, they replaced a star hitter in David Miller with a stroke-player (Shaun Marsh). This led to a 26 off 21, which was far too slow on this wicket. Wriddhiman Saha has looked out of sorts at number 3, and his 11 off 15 consumed too many balls. Had they sent in Maxwell at 3 or even GM Singh, they would have been able to push the scoring rate into double digits. Their lower-middle order did not capitalise the way Mumbai’s has in the past and scored just 5 off the 8 balls it faced. Overall, they were about 30 runs short of a match-winning score, and Mumbai made them pay.
Mumbai’s top order showed it’s nerve by being completely unfazed by this chase. They took the attack to the bowlers immediately, and Buttler and Parthiv’s start allowed the rest of the order to play easier, not that they did. Nitish Rana is a fantastic find for the Mumbai Indians and his continued good form has won them many games. The ability of Mumbai to hit big runs quickly, while having their lower order as an effective failsafe is an effective model in t20 that won the West Indies the world cup last year.
Where to start with Punjab. They showed poor commitment with the ball, and their morale will be shot. The only positive to take away is the age-defying, form-defying century by Hashim Amla. His performance was match-winning on other days, but their bowling let them down, again. Their strategy of playing 3 Indian quicks does not work, plain and simple. They have 3 bowlers that aren’t international material, a strategy with has failed all through this IPL. They need to up their game in all 3 facets to compete in this tournament.
The Mumbai Indians have looked flawless, with strong bowling and batting. The bowling has flaws, with Malinga having a strangely below par IPL and McClenaghan being very expensive. Perhaps giving Mitchell Johnson a game would allow a more solid bowling performance. This batting order seems settled, with batsman capable scoring at high strike rates through their order, but this may prove to be a disadvantage as pitches slow down, and their aggressive style will not work. However, for now, they sit atop the table and are looking extremely affirmed.
What this means for the tournament:
Mumbai top the table with 5 wins off their 6 games. They approach the midpoint of the tournament looking the strongest team in the tournament so far. They are to face the Delhi Daredevils in a home game that they will be very confident going into.
The Kings XI have just 2 wins off their first six games, with 4 losses off their last 4 games. They will need to beef up their bowling if they are to remain competitive going into their 7th game, versus the Gujarat Lions at Rajkot, a similar venue to the Indore game.
Vedant Jain is a contributor at CricMetric. For any queries or information, email firstname.lastname@example.org