Dubai: In a most dramatic contest, comprising two Super Over deciders, Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) held their nerve to eke out a heart-stopping win over reigning champions Mumbai Indians (MI) to most deservingly win two points and stay in the race for the IPL playoffs.
After the scores were levelled at the end of the regulation two innings of 20 overs each, the contest slipped into a Super Over. However, this decider, too, ended in a tie, and it took another Super Over decider the winner. The second time around, ‘Universe Boss’ Chris Gayle effectively sealed the win with the first-ball six.
The hero of the thriller at Dubai International Cricket Stadium was KXIP captain-cum-wicket-keeper-cum-batsman KL Rahul, who was adjudged the Man of the Match, not just for his 51-ball 77, but perhaps also for his cool captaincy.
It was the day’s second match that was decided through a Super Over decider, as earlier in the day, Kolkata Knight Riders had pipped SunRisers Hyderabad in Abu Dhabi.
MI won the toss and posted 176 for six wickets in 20 overs, with the lone half-century coming from Quinton de Kock (53 off 43 balls), and KXIP ended with the same score, thanks to top scorer Rahul, who slammed seven boundaries and three sixes.
In the first Super Over, MI fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah once again stepped up when the team needed him. The lanky bowler first picked three wickets in the match before his lethal bowling saw KXIP managing just five runs losing two wickets in the first Super Over.
However, MI scored five and lost one wicket, as the contest extended to the second Super Over.
In the second Super Over, MI managed 11 runs at the loss of one wicket, and while chasing KXIP opener Chris Gayle’s massive six, along with Mayank Agarwal’s boundary was enough to fetch KXIP a pulsating win with two balls to spare.
Agarwal was the hero of the second Super Over. While fielding near the boundary line, he leapt back to catch the ball while being air-borne at long on rope and threw it back in to deny Kieron Pollard a six. That turned out to be a decisive save.
Before it, KXIP, who were chasing the 177-run target, were off to a flying start as KL Rahul (77) and Mayank Agarwal (11) added 33 runs in the initial three overs.
Three balls later, Bumrah castled Agarwal that saw Chris Gayle (24) joining skipper Rahul in the middle.
Gayle and Rahul tried to repair the early damage with a 42-run stand for the second wicket. While trying to clear the long-off fence in the 10th over, Gayle handed a catch to Trent Boult at the boundary off a Rahul Chahar delivery.
Nicholas Pooran (24) and Rahul were then involved in a 33-run stand before Bumrah struck again, this time packing the West Indian in the 13th over, leaving KXIP at 108/3.
Glenn Maxwell maintained his inconsistency with the bat as the Aussie once again departed without troubling the scorers. Rahul and Hooda then shared 38-run stand, taking their side closer to the target.
However, Bumrah spoiled the KXIP party as he dismissed Rahul in the 18th over with a deadly yorker. Bumrah’s breakthrough also turned out to be the game changer. With nine needed off the final over, Deepak Hooda (23 not out) and Chris Jordan (13) could manage only eight.
The match went down to the wire with two required from the final ball but a brilliant run out saw Jordan falling short of the crease as scores were tied.
For MI, Bumrah shone with figures of 3/24 while Rahul Chahar bagged two.
Earlier, wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock’s valiant 53 along with Kieron Pollard’s 34 and Nathan Coulter-Nile (24) late fireworks took MI to 176/6′
MI kept losing wickets at regular intervals as half of their batsmen were back in the pavilion with 116 runs on board in 15.3 overs. However, de Kock showed grit and determination in the middle.
The South African stumper was involved in a 58-run partnership with Krunal Pandya (34) before falling. de Kock’s innings contained three fours and as many sixes.
Later in the ‘death’ overs, Pollard and Coulter-Nile’s cameo put MI in a healthy position, adding unbeaten 57 runs off the final 21 balls.
Pollard’s knock, which came off just 12 balls, was decorated with a boundary and four sixes while Coulter-Nile smashed four fours.
For KXIP, Mohammad Shami and Arshdeep Singh picked two wickets each. Shami also bowled a tight over in the first Super Over decider.
Brief scores: KXIP 176/6 (KL Rahul 77, Nicholas Pooran 24; Jasprit Bumrah 3/24) beat MI 176/6 in 20 overs (Quinton de Kock 53, Kieron Pollard 34 not out; Mohammed Shami 2/30) in 2nd Super Over