Cricket Article

Indian Premier League 2018 - Mumbai Indians Continue Struggles, Punjab Jump to Top

Indian Premier League 2018 - Mumbai Indians Continue Struggles, Punjab Jump to Top Photo: TT

Saturday saw two matches, with the Kolkata Knight Riders playing Kings XI Punjab, followed by the Royal Challengers Bangalore in their meeting with the Delhi Daredevils.

The first match saw Punjab beat Kolkata by 9 wickets on the Duckworth/Lewis method as rain brought an early end to proceedings at Eden Gardens.

Put into bat first, the home team Kolkata lost Sunil Narine in the second over for just a single, but a 72 run stand for the second wicket between Chris Lynn and Robin Uthappa gave them a solid platform. Uthappa was out for 34, and Nitish Rana was run out cheaply but, Lynn and captain Dinesh Karthik combined in a partnership of 62, before Lynn was out top-scoring with 74, including 4 sixes and 6 fours. Karthik hit 43, and together with the tail, helped push the Kolkata score to what looked to be a competitive 191 – 7.

However, the Punjab openers, Chris Gayle and KL Rahul, set about their target in commanding fashion, the pair combining for an opening partnership of 116 in less than 10 overs. Rahul fell for 60, but, when the rain fell soon afterwards, the Kings XI were well ahead of the asking rate, at 126 – 1, and claimed a comprehensive victory, with Gayle making another decisive contribution with the bat on 62 not out.

The second match saw Royal Challengers Bangalore beat the Delhi Daredevils by 6 wickets, with their win owing much to their South African batsman AB de Villiers, who scored 90 off just 39 balls, including 5 sixes and 10 fours. Put into bat, Delhi lost both their openers, Jason Roy and Gautam Gambhir cheaply, before a partnership of 75 between Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant helped their recovery. Iyer fell for 52, and Pant struggled thereafter to find a reliable partner, as he tried to guide his team to a viable score. He was out in the last over for 85, having hit 7 sixes and 6 fours, but there was a feeling that the total of 174 – 5 may not be enough.

And so it proved, although Delhi started well enough taking the wicket of Manan Vohra (2) in the second over, and capturing the wicket of the other opener, Quinton de Kock (18) not long afterwards. However, Virat Kohli and de Villiers then put on 63 for the third wicket, and although Kohli departed for 30, de Villiers then combined with Corey Anderson (15) to close in on victory. Anderson was out to Trent Boult, but Mandeep Singh (17 not out) then joined with de Villiers, as Bangalore reached their desired target with a full two overs to spare.

The first of Sunday’s matches saw last year’s champions, the Mumbai Indians, on the wrong end of a cliff-hanger, as the lost to the Rajasthan Royals by 3 wickets with just 2 balls to spare in Jaipur.

Winning the toss and deciding to bat, Mumbai overcame the loss of Evin Lewis in the first over for a duck, and establish a strong platform in the form of a 129-run partnership for the second wicket between Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan. They fell within 6 balls of each other, Kishan for 58 and Yadav for 72, but Mumbai looked to be in a position to post a big score at that point. However, Rajasthan’s fast bowler, Jofra Archer, then produced a man-of-the-match spell, taking 3 for 22, to peg them back, helping restrict the visitors to 167 – 7 from their 20 overs.

In response, Rajasthan got off to a poor start, with both openers, Ajinkya Rahane and Rahut Tripathi, falling cheaply. Ben Stokes (40) and Sanju Samson (52) helped get the innings back on track, but then 3 wickets fell in the space of 6 balls with the score on 125, to leave the Royals floundering. They were rescued by an inspired 33 not out by Krishnappa Gowtham, scored off just 11 balls, including 2 sixes and 4 fours, which helped them reach their target off the fourth ball of their final over.

The second match of the day was also a tight affair, with Chennai Super Kings moving to the top of the IPL standings with a 4-run victory over the Sunrisers Hyderabad in Uppal.

Put into bat, the visitors lost both openers cheaply, but a stand of 112 for the third wicket between man-of-the-match Ambati Rayudu and Suresh Raina helped them recover, with Rayudu top-scoring with 79 off just 37 balls, including 4 sixes and 9 fours. He was eventually run out, but MS Dhoni (25 not out) and Raina, who was undefeated on 54, helped Chennai post 182 – 3 from their allotted overs. In reply, the Sunrisers got off to a terrible start as medium paceman Deepak Chahar picked up 3 early wickets, reducing the home side to 22 – 3.

However, their New Zealand captain Kane Williamson was in supreme form, and combining with Shakib Al-Hasan (24) and Yusuf Pathan (45) helped drag his side back into contention. Unfortunately for his side, he fell on 84 at the end of the 18th over, having hit 5 sixes and 5 fours, and, despite the best efforts of Rashid Khan and Wriddiham Saha, Hyderabad fell just short of their target, closing on 178 – 6.

On Monday evening, the bottom-side Delhi Daredevils had another disappointing result as they failed to chase down a low target, losing by 4 runs to the Kings XI Punjab.

Both teams showed changes from their last match, Punjab resting Chris Gayle, whilst Delhi brought in 5 replacements in a bid to change their ailing fortunes. Put into bat, the Kings XI got off to a sluggish start, losing Aaron Finch in the second over for just 2 runs, and then were pegged back by Liam Plunkett, playing his first IPL match, who accounted for the wickets of KL Rahul (23). Mayank Agarwal (21) and Karun Nair who top-scored with 34. David Miller hit a brisk 26, but Punjab’s final total of 143 – 8 did not seem to be enough to trouble the Delhi batsmen.

However, despite a fast start provided by India’s under-19 captain Prithvi Shaw who made 22 on his debut in the competition, Delhi struggled to get going, and losing wickets quickly, found themselves reduced to 76 – 5.

Shreyas Iyer fought back with a spirited 57, but he lacked any real support, apart from Rahul Tewatia who scored 24. Eventually, the Daredevils found themselves needing 17 off the last over, which proved beyond them, as Iyer holed out off the last ball trying valiantly to score the runs which would have brought his side a much-needed victory.

Rajeev mcallister
Sports Pundit staff writer

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