Jasprit Bumrah was the hero as Mumbai Indians kept their Indian Premier League hopes alive with a dramatic three-run win over Kings XI Punjab, for whom another brilliant KL Rahul innings proved in vain.
Needing a win in their penultimate group game to retain a chance of making the top four, Mumbai were indebted to the brilliance of Bumrah as they just about defended a total of 186-8.
The India seamer returned 3-15 from four brilliant overs and crucially dismissed international team-mate Rahul in the penultimate over of the chase, after the Kings XI batsman compiled a superb 94.
Rahul and Aaron Finch (46) looked to have laid the foundations for a Kings XI win with four overs remaining, but Bumrah removed both set batsmen and Marcus Stoinis while also keeping runs to a minimum in a wonderful display of death bowling.
Earlier, Kieron Pollard justified his recall to Mumbai’s XI with 50 from 23 balls, while the hosts’ also received useful contributions from Suryakumar Yadav (27 off 15), Ishan Kishan (20 off 12) and Krunal Pandya (32 off 23) in a stop-start innings.
Like Rahul, Andrew Tye could feel hard done by after ending up on the losing side. The canny Australia bowler took 4-16 from four overs, his third four-wicket haul in four matches.
In Rahul and Tye, the Kings XI boast the competition’s leading run-scorer and wicket-taker respectively, but they are nevertheless staring at a likely group-stage exit.
Sunrisers Hyderabad and Chennai Super Kings are already assured of qualification, but the battle to join them remains tough to call.
Kolkata Knight Riders have 14 points with one game left to play, while Mumbai and the Kings XI are two of three teams – along with Rajasthan Royals – two points further back. Crucially, Mumbai’s net run rate is far superior.
Royal Challengers Bangalore are not out of it either. They are on 10 points with two games to play and could yet sneak through with wins in their last two matches.
Mumbai’s innings was a curious one – featuring two stints of rapid scoring and two periods where runs proved much harder to come by.
Fifty-seven runs came from the first five overs, but the hosts only mustered another 22 in the next five as Tye excelled in claiming 3-5 from 12 balls.
After a delay brought about by floodlight failure, Pollard and Pandya reignited the innings with a flurry of boundaries, lifting Mumbai to 151-5 from 15 overs.
The pace slowed again following Pollard’s exit, but a total of 186 proved just enough for Mumbai. (SportsMax)