Mumbai (170/5) were finally able to collect their first win in IPL 7, beating the previously undefeated Kings XI Punjab (168/5) by five wickets on Saturday.
Their first match back on Indian soil following the tournament's opening weeks in the United Arab Emirates, last year's champions seemed to be headed for another long afternoon after Indians lost the toss and were forced to field on the dry pitch of Wankhede Stadium.
Punjab had yet to lose in IPL 7, powered by Glenn Maxwell and his tournament-leading 300 runs coming into this match, and a solid group of bowlers led by Sandeep Sharma and Rishi Dhawan.
But an early dismissal of Virender Sehwag had Mumbai buzzing, and with a target of 168, Indians had a good chance of finally collecting their first win. While Punjab's group of bowlers kept it close until the very end, Kieron Pollard's in the final two overs decided the tie in favour of the defending champions.
|Kings XI Punjab (168/5)|
|Cheteshwar Pujara||c CM Gautam b Corey Anderson||19||18||105.55||4||0|
|Virender Sehwag||run out (Rohit Sharma)||1||2||50.00||0||0|
|Wriddhiman Saha||NOT OUT||59||47||125.53||4||3|
|Glenn Maxwell||c Ben Dunk b Harbhajan Singh||45||27||166.66||5||2|
|George Bailey||c Corey Anderson b Harbhajan Singh||15||14||107.14||2||0|
|David Miller||c Ben Dunk b Lasith Malinga||16||12||133.33||1||1|
|Mitchell Johnson||NOT OUT||0||1||0.00||0||0|
|EXTRAS||(nb 1, w 5, b 1, lb 6)||13|
|TOTAL||(5 wickets; 20 overs)||168||TOTAL|
Punjab started with solid contribution from Maxwell (45 runs, 27 balls) and Wriddhiman Saha (59 runs, 47 balls), but the production halted later in the innings, with the final three batsmen combining for only 31 total runs.
Led by fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah, who replaced Pragyan Ojha in the line-up for Mumbai, the Indians bowlers did an good job containing some of Kings' explosive batsmen, and the final score of 168/5 wasn't a bad one for the team considering their terrible run in the tournament so far.
As shared by Freddie Wilde however, Mumbai's tactics in batting have been erratic during this tournament, and a successful chase was in no way guaranteed:
Ben Dunk and Ambati Rayudu were both dismissed early, with both batsmen going for single-digit runs, and with their openers gone seemingly in the blink of an eye, it looked like it would once again not be the Indians' day.
|Mumbai Indians (170/5)|
|Ben Dunk||c Wriddhiman Saha b Sandeep Sharma||5||4||125.00||1||0|
|CM Gautam||lbw Rishi Dhawan||33||29||113.79||2||2|
|Ambati Rayudu||lbw Sandeep Sharma||8||5||160.00||2||0|
|Rohit Sharma||c Wriddhiman Saha b Lakshmipathy Balaji||39||34||114.70||4||2|
|Corey Anderson||c David Miller b Rishi Dhawan||35||25||140.00||3||2|
|Kieron Pollard||NOT OUT||28||12||233.33||2||2|
|Aditya Tare||NOT OUT||16||6||266.66||1||1|
|EXTRAS||(w 3, lb 3)||6|
|TOTAL||(5 wickets; 19.1 overs)||170|
Chidhambaram Gautam's 33 runs gave the team hope, however, and thirties from Rohit Sharma and Corey Anderson in the middle overs had Mumbai believing once again.
In the end, it came down to the partnership of Pollard and Aditya Tare to bring the team their first win of the season, and powered by a stunning 20 runs from the West Indies man in the 18th off Mitchell Johnson, Pollard set himself up for the deciding six off the first ball in the 19th.
Rishi Dhawan bowled a great game, taking two wickets and only surrendering 23 runs in four overs, but the rest of Punjab's group of bowlers struggled greatly against Mumbai, all recording economy rates over nine.
Mumbai's batting was the main difference in this match, and coming into the tie, Rohit Sharma had emphasised struggles in that department as the main reason for the winless start to the IPL, as he told NDTV.com:
Batting has not been up to the mark. We are disappointed the way we batted. Shot selection wasn't that great. We have come to familiar conditions and all our batsmen know how to bat on this wicket and I hope for a better batting performance from all our batters.
Following their first loss of the tournament, Punjab will drop to second place in the standings as Chennai Super Kings have a better net run rate. Mumbai have collected their first points and somehow only trail fourth-placed Kolkata Knight Riders by two points, keeping them very much alive in the race for the play-offs.
Perhaps Indians took full advantage of the higher humidity of playing in India, but the team seemed to play with a fire we had yet to see since their opening loss two weeks ago. Pollard seems to be rounding into form at just the right time, and if his bat truly starts to fire, the Indians' batting line-up will be in much better shape. Finding the right order will be key.
Punjab may have lost their spot at the top of the table, but still share the lead on points and look to be in excellent shape to make the play-offs. Mumbai were given too many runs in the middle part of their order and bowling short on Pollard is never a good idea, and if Kings XI can work those little kinks out of their play they'll be in excellent shape to make a run at the IPL crown.
Rajasthan Royals and Delhi Daredevils will take to the pitch on Sunday.
All statistics are courtesy of Espn Cricinfo, unless stated otherwise.