Mumbai: Defending champion Mumbai Indians (MI) pulled off a three-run victory over Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Wednesday and stayed in contention for a place in the playoffs.
Lokesh Rahul's sixth half century in the IPL had nearly ended MI’s run in the tournament before fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah (3-15) turned the match on its head in his return spell and restricted KXIP to 183-5.
"I think Bumrah has come a long way in the past two years, worked really hard on his bowling," Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma said. "Coming out there and bowling at set batsmen who are trying to finish the job – he's doing it perfectly for us."
Needing 38 off the last three overs, KXIP took 15 runs off Ben Cutting's 18th over as Rahul (94 off 60 balls) smashed three consecutive boundaries off the Australian seamer.
But Bumrah bowled a superb 19th over as he outfoxed Rahul with a slower delivery and the KXIP opener holed out at long-off after hitting 10 fours and three sixes.
Mitchell McClenaghan then kept his nerve in the last over and despite conceding 13 runs, the left-arm seamer ensured MI climbed to No. 4 in the table with 12 points.
KXIP also has 12 points, but it slipped to No. 6 on an inferior net run-rate than both Mumbai and Rajasthan Royals.
After being put into bat in front of boisterous home crowd at Wankhede Stadium, MI’s total of 186-8 revolved around Kieron Pollard's (50) first half century in this year's tournament.
Andrew Tye (4-16) raised his wickets tally to 24 to be the leading wicket-taker in this season as MI struggled to 71-4 in the ninth over.
But Pollard and Krunal Pandya (32) revived the innings with a 65-run fifth-wicket stand in six overs before KXIP hit back.
Both batsmen fell in successive overs as Krunal was deceived by Marcus Stoinis slower delivery and pulled it to short fine leg.
Pollard, who hit five fours and three sixes, then offered a simple catch at long on off captain Ravichandran Ashwin's bowling as MI could score only 35 runs in the last five overs.
Rahul and Aaron Finch's (45 off 35 balls) century stand had frustrated Mumbai until the 17th over before Bumrah returned and ended the 111-run partnership.
Finch was brilliantly snapped up at mid-wicket by Hardik Pandya and four balls later Stoinis gloved a catch behind the wickets off Bumrah's short pitched delivery.
But Bumrah provided Mumbai Indians a real sniff when he got rid of Rahul in his last over and kept the hometeam in with a chance to make it to the playoffs.
"Pretty blank at this point of time. We were in the chase all along, it was a professional batting performance," Ashwin said. "It looked it was going to be a clinical romp but credit to Bumrah – once again he proved what a good bowler he is."
Mumbai Indians will take on Delhi Daredevils in its last league match while Punjab will be up against Chennai Super Kings, which has already qualified for the playoffs along with Sunrisers Hyderabad....