IPL 2017: Gutsy Kings XI Punjab highlight penultimate week

MI skipper Rohit Sharma

Predicting the outcome of the Mumbai Indians' last home match against Kings XI Punjab at the Wankhede Stadium on Thursday would have been a long shot, especially on the basis of the 10-9 head-to-head score-line in favour of the two-time league victor before Rohit Sharma and Glenn Maxwell went for the toss.

If the term "run-fest" could ever be used as an apt description for a cricket match, the clash between the Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab at the Wankhede Stadium on Thursday would qualify.

Earlier, Test specialist Saha displayed a different facet of his batsmanship with a stroke-filled unbeaten 93 of 55 balls to power Kings XI Punjab to 230 for 3.

Kings XI Punjab have 14 points from 13 matches and still have a game in hand. In a high-scoring contest, which saw a total of 453 runs scored in 40 overs, the difference between the two teams was a mere seven runs. Before this, Gujarat Lions had posted 214/3 against Delhi Daredevils in this edition.

Once again it was Maxwell to the fore, his two overs costing just eight runs and including the vital wicket of top scorer Lendl Simmons. The Australian tried to hit over midwicket, but was caught by Parthiv Patel.

Pollard had hit Mohit for a huge six off the second ball to bring the equation to nine runs in four ball which in T20 parlance should have been a cakewalk for someone like Pollard, who till that moment didn't put a foot wrong.

The side has posted a total of 230 or above for the third time in all the 10 season of IPL. The onslaught continued after Guptill was gone, as skipper Glenn Maxwell (47, 21b, 2x4, 5x6) chose to give the kitchen sink to Harbhajan Singh, smashing the veteran off-spinner for three sixes in the ninth over. Guptill, the New Zealander, timed his jump to perfection to pull off a one-handed catch.

MI looked down and out when they slipped to 121 for four in the 13th over while chasing 232 against Kings XI Punjab.

The pair blasted 68 for the opening wicket before Guptill (36) skied one from Karn Sharma which Hardik Pandya held well running back from mid-on. He hit the ball in the deep mid-wicket region and ran for two with intent and goal. The Kiwi was helpless as the 16th over leaked 27 runs and kept the hosts in the match, with four sixes frustrating the Kings XI captain. Mumbai put on an impressive batting display, but fell seven-runs short of the target.

Kings XI were further aggrieved when he hit the following ball for six, his fifth of the innings, but from there on Mohit Sharma was flawless, conceding just one more from the over to seal an exhilarating win.

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