Indore: Opener Lokesh Rahul's unbeaten 84 helped Kings XI Punjab beat Rajasthan Royals by six wickets in an Indian Premier League (IPL) match here on Sunday. Yet Mumbai Indians come to Indore as the away team looking to survive in the tournament, playing form team, Kings XI Punjab.
Also for MI, contributions from skipper Rohit Sharma; Krunal and Hardik Pandya are utmost crucial. Led by Mujeeb Zadran and Andrew Tye, the bowlers kept Rajasthan Royals to a paltry 152 for 9 in 20 overs.
"It's (the pitch) hard to understand until you go out there - if it's slow, if it's turning and those sorts of things". The Jamaican was slow to begin with; he was two from nine balls, before exploding and adding 48 off the next 31 balls.
Karun Nair made 23 from 12 balls, and a last over blitz from Marcus Stoinis (29* from 15 balls) took KXIP to 174-6. The top four are in good form, but they can be brittle on an off-day and the rest of the order simply cannot cope without them. The 27-year old scored 57 - his third half-century of the season - and laid the platform for MI's run-chase. Axar came for the 8th over, Samson hit a boundary on the first ball, 5 singles came after that. He was dismissed in the following over when he miscued a knuckle ball from Stoinis and the skier was pouched by KL Rahul.
Rohit Sharma (captain), Suryakumar Yadav, Evin Lewis, Ishan Kishan (wk), Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Mayank Markande, Mitchell McLenaghan, Mustafizur Rahaman, Jasprit Bumrah, Akila Dananjaya, Ben Cutting, JP Duminy, Rahul Chahar, Sharad Lumba, Adam Milne, Siddhesh Lad, Md Nidheesh, Mohsin Khan, Anukul Roy, Pradeep Sangwan, Tajinder Singh, Aditya Tare (wk), Saurabh Tiwary.More news: 'Avengers: Infinity War' becomes fastest film to earn $1 billion globally
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And Mumbai needed only six more balls to wipe out that target - a leg bye for four finishing the job with an over to spare.
Following the wicket, Rajasthan lost track as Mujeeb removed Stokes (12) and Buttler in the 13th and 15th overs respectively. The required run-rate was increasing constantly but he stayed calm only to go bonkers in the death overs and attacked the best in the business Jofra Archer to end the hopes of Royals to win the game. While Rohit's knock was about elegance, Krunal plundered the KXIP bowlers. He ended the night with figures of 3/27 and an economy of 6.75.
KXIP captain R Ashwin thought he had gotten rid of the danger man Buttler at the start of the seventh over, but the Englishman reviewed the lbw decision and survived.
It is well reported that the last few balls of an innings, or game, have cost Mumbai.
Rahul too was in sublime touch and looked set for a big score. Until then, he had been a top-order anchor, making 42 off 39 balls.