IPL 2024: MI survive whirlwind Ashutosh Sharma scare to edge PBKS by nine runs in Mullanpur thriller 

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IPL 2024: MI survive whirlwind Ashutosh Sharma scare to edge PBKS by nine runs in Mullanpur thriller 
Mullanpur: Ashutosh Sharma almost single-handedly won Punjab Kings the game out of nowhere, but Mumbai Indians survived his stunning assault to win by nine runs in a thrilling match at the Maharaja Yadavindra Singh Cricket Stadium in Mullanpur on Thursday evening.

PBKS were in real trouble of getting their net run rate being hit by a massive margin when they were 14/4 and later on at 77/6 in the chase of 193. After Shashank hit a 25-ball 41, Ashutosh continued dishing out good finishing knocks with a whirlwind 25-ball 61, also his first fifty in the IPL.

But once he fell, PBKS were eventually dismissed for 183 in 19.1 overs, as the hosts’ were consigned to their fourth defeat of the competition coming in the final over. For MI, Gerald Coetzee and Jasprit Bumrah took three wickets each as the visitors’ managed to get a win despite a real scare from Ashutosh, in what was a match fitting enough to celebrate the 17th birthday of IPL.

Chasing 193, PBKS were plunged into trouble from the word go. Prabhsimran Singh gloved a pull down the leg side to Ishan Kishan off Coetzee. Bumrah left Rilee Rossouw’s stumps in a mess with his trademark yorker, before strangling Sam Curran down leg on review.

Liam Livingstone miscued a pull, and on seeing that, Coetzee made a slide to his left to complete a low catch. Impact Player Harpreet Bhatia couldn’t keep the punch down and gave a caught-and-bowled dismissal to Shreyas Gopal. Jitesh Sharma missed a full toss from Akash Madhwal and was trapped lbw.

The first signs of counter-attack were shown by Shashank in punching fours off Coetzee and Madhwal, before swinging Gopal for six. He took a liking to Gopal’s bowling by cleanly striking him for sixes down the ground and over long-on, before being deceived by a slower ball from Bumrah.

From the other end, Ashutosh began by swinging Madhwal for six, before slashing and pulling Romario Shepherd for four and six respectively. When Hardik Pandya strayed down leg, Ashutosh was quick to whip it for six.

But the standout moment of his knock was Ashutosh staying low and sweeping a Bumrah yorker for a six over fine leg, followed by pulling Shepherd for another maximum. He would swing a Coetzee full toss for another four and with Harpreet Brar taking back-to-back fours off him, PBKS felt they were in the hunt to do the impossible.

Ashutosh reached his fifty in 23 balls by drilling Madhwal over mid-off for six, and then scooped a free-hit over the keeper for another maximum. Harpreet then hit Madhwal for six down the ground as PBKS now needed 28 runs off last four overs, with the crowd chanting Ashutosh’s name.

After Bumrah gave away only three runs in the 17th over, Ashutosh pulled the first ball of the 18th over from Coetzee straight to deep mid-wicket, falling for a whirlwind 28-ball 61. In the next over, Harpreet flicked to deep backward square leg off Hardik. Kagiso Rabada’s six made the equation 12 runs off the final over, but his run-out by Mohammad Nabi ensured relief for MI and heartbreak for PBKS.

Earlier, Suryakumar Yadav brought out his trademark shots to make a fine 78 in powering MI to a daunting 192/7. On a two-paced pitch, Suryakumar hit seven fours and three sixes, showing impeccable wrist-work and collecting boundaries behind the square to hit his highest IPL score against PBKS.

He was also supported by handy knocks of 36 and 34 not out from Rohit Sharma and Tilak Varma respectively, as MI scored 77 runs in their last six overs. For PBKS, Harshal Patel and Curran were the pick of the bowlers with spells of 3-31 and 2-41 respectively.

Electing to bowl first, Kagiso Rabada drew first blood as Ishan Kishan slashed a short ball straight to backward point in the third over. Suryakumar got off the mark by using his wrists to flick and steer Rabada for back-to-back fours, followed by taking another boundary off Harshal with a whip.

Rohit brought out his trademark pull to hit an 80-m six off Arshdeep Singh, before being trapped lbw by a dipping slower delivery from Harshal. He took a very late review, with replays showing the ball missed the stumps, thus earning him a reprieve. Rohit and Suryakumar would take a four and six each off Curran as MI ended power-play at 54/1.

Curran continued to rotate his bowlers, which ensured MI weren’t let off the hook in the middle overs. But Suryakumar continued his shot-making spree by whipping, sweeping and lofting with elan to get his fifty in 23 balls. Rohit didn’t get much of the strike after power-play, despite hitting Harshal for a six down the ground, and was even struck on the helmet by Curran, needing a concussion test.

A ball later, he reached out to drive off a slower delivery from Curran, but sliced to backward point in the 12th over. PBKS dried up boundaries in the 12th, 13th and 14th overs, before Tilak broke the boundary drought by lofting and driving Arshdeep for successive fours. Suryakumar then drilled a drive through extra cover to collect another boundary as 15 runs came off the 15th over.

Suryakumar survived an lbw appeal off Rabada in the 16th over, and followed it up by lofting inside-out and scooping over keeper for four and six respectively. Tilak then came in to end the 18-run over with a pulled six off Rabada at deep mid-wicket. But Suryakumar fell in the next over, slicing to backward point off Curran and fell for 78 off 53 balls.

Pandya’s poor form continued as he muscled a slower short ball from Harshal to deep mid-wicket. Tim David injected some momentum by hitting two fours and a six in the 19th over yielding 18 runs. But Harshal had a solid final over, taking out David and Shepherd, with Mohammad Nabi being run-out on the final ball to keep MI eight short of 200, which was enough for them to get crucial two points.

Brief Scores: Mumbai Indians 192/7 in 20 overs (Suryakumar Yadav 78, Rohit Sharma 36; Harshal Patel 3-31, Sam Curran 2-41) beat Punjab Kings 183 in 19.1 overs (Ashutosh Sharma 61, Shashank Singh 41; Jasprit Bumrah 3-21, Gerald Coetzee 3-32) by nine runs


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