Mumbai, April 13 (IANS) Harbhajan Singh’s lusty hitting went in vain, as Kings XI Punjab defeated Mumbai Indians by 18 runs in a highly entertaining Indian Premier League encounter here on Sunday.
Sent in to bat, the Kings rode on a good start and late fireworks by skipper George Bailey to post an imposing 177/5. Man of the match Bailey played a captain’s knock of 61 from only 32 balls, plundering four boundaries and three sixes at the packed Wankhede stadium. In reply, Mumbai could reach only up to 159/7.
The hosts lost early wickets, and the match seemed all but over with Mumbai looking hopelessly placed at 59/6 in 13.4 overs. The required run rate had soared to nearly 20, and all the established batsmen were back in the hut.
However, Harbhajan – never one to give up – took the battle into the opponent camp, as he set the ground afire with a 24-ball 64 that included five boundaries and half a dozen towering sixes.
The runs came in torrents, and Harbhajn and Jagadeesha Suchith (34 not out; 21b, 4×4, 2×6) formed a rollicking partnership that fetched 100 runs of only 37 balls.
While at once stage it had seemed the Mumbai Indians would slump to a big defeat, the two batsmen managed to make it look a somewhat closer affair.
The locals’ innings had started on an absolutely wrong note, with skipper Rohit Sharma (0) getting out first ball.
The sharp incoming delivery from Sandeep Sharma beat the bat and struck Rohit on the back pad plumb infront
The other pacer Anurit Singh then saw the back of wicketkeeper batsman Aditya Tare (7), before Aaron Finch (8) missed a slog across the line to give Mitchell Johnson his first wicket.
It was 17/3 in the sixth over, and the Mumbai Indians couldn’t have had a worse launch pad.
Spin was introduced in the eight over in the form of Axar Patel, and the left arm bowler responded by taking the prized wicket of Corey
Anderson (5). The New Zealander danced down the track and the young Patel held it back a bit, forcing the batsman to miss the shot. The ball came off wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha’s gloves, and unsettled the bails. The Mumbai Indians had slumped to 25/4.
Ambati Rayudu (13) and Kieron Pollard (20) tried to retrieve the situation for some time, but the Indian miscued an intended lofted shot over the covers, and the outside edge finished in Saha’s hands.
Eleven balls later, Pollard became Patel’s second victim , by holing out to Dabid Miller at long on.
That brought into the middle the veteran Harbajan, and a spell of scintillating batting till he got out of the penultimate ball,
Earlier in the evening, the Kings XI began on a high with openers Virender Sehwag and Murali Vijay hitting the ball to all parts of the park with ease.
The duo didn’t let the run flow go down as the team’s 50 came of just 5.2 overs.
But the experienced Harbhajan Singh dismissed Sehwag (36 of 19 balls, with 6 boundaries and a sixer), while Glenn Maxwell had a short stay in the middle.
Soon after Maxwell’s dismissal, Vijay (35 off 28 balls) also returned, as did Miller (24 off 23 balls).
Bailey then wetn all guns blazing to give the visitors a commendable score on the board.