A late charge by Saurabh Tiwary and then Hardik Pandya has seen Mumbai Indians finally end their three-match losing streak as they beat Punjab Kings by 6 wickets for their first victory of IPL 2021 in the UAE.
The victory now helps Mumbai climb to the fifth spot in the IPL standings with five wins in 11 matches. Punjab Kings are now sixth in the table with four wins in 11 matches.
Chasing 136, Mumbai were given a double jolt in the fourth over. Leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi had captain Rohit Sharma miscuing a slog-sweep to mid-on. On the next ball, Bishnoi bowled Suryakumar Yadav through the gate with a googly.
Quinton de Kock and Saurabh Tiwary resurrected the chase with a stand of 45 runs for the third wicket. But Mohammed Shami broke the partnership in the tenth over as de Kock, dropped on 17 by Aiden Markram, inside-edged a pull onto his stumps.
Tiwary waged a lone battle for Mumbai, smashing boundaries and keeping his side in the hunt. But he perished at 45, chasing a wide yorker from Nathan Ellis and edging behind to Rahul, who dived forward to complete a low catch.
Pandya, dropped by Harpreet Brar at seven, smashed Shami for a four and six over mid-wicket on consecutive deliveries in the 17th over. Kieron Pollard hit Arshdeep Singh for back-to-back boundaries in the 18th over. Pollard crunched Singh for a four through extra cover followed by a big six over long-off.
Pandya then cut Shami over third man in the 19th over followed by a slap past a diving long-on fielder. Pandya finished off the chase with a flat-bat shot bursting through the hands of long-on, handing Mumbai two crucial points with an over to spare.
Earlier, Mumbai put up a clinical show with the ball to restrict Punjab Kings to 135/6 at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium.
After Rohit elected to bowl first, Krunal picked up his first wicket of the match, and in the UAE leg of the tournament, by trapping Mandeep Singh lbw in the final over of power-play. Singh tried to move across to sweep but missed the delivery, which looked to hit the stumps.
Punjab lost their second wicket on the second ball after power-play with Chris Gayle holing out to long-on off Kieron Pollard, who claimed his 300th victim in IPL. Punjab's troubles increased as captain KL Rahul followed Gayle to the pavilion in the same over, miscuing a pull to short fine leg.
Nicholas Pooran tried to flick but missed Jasprit Bumrah's low dipping full toss trapped him lbw. Pooran took the review but failed to change the result, burning his team's review in process, leaving Punjab at 48/4 in 7.3 overs.
Aiden Markram and Deepak Hooda led the fightback for Punjab, adding 61 runs for the fifth wicket. Markram was the more strokefui of the two, crunching delightful boundaries through off-side.
He took a liking to Trent Boult in the 15th over, driving and punching through cover on consecutive deliveries before Hooda sliced him over backward point. Boult gave Hooda a reprieve on 25, spilling a tough caught and bowled chance on the final ball of the over.
Rahul Chahar ended the partnership in the 16th over when Markram tried to sweep and rattled his off-stump. After Markram's dismissal, Mumbai kept Punjab on a tight leash by drying the boundaries in a display of immaculate death bowling.
The strategy worked as Hooda tried to break the boundary-less streak and holed out to long-off off Bumrah in the 19th over, ensuring that Punjab were restricted to a below-par total.
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