IPL 2018 | Match 50 | MI vs KXIP: Mumbai Indians jumped to the fourth position as they defeated Kings XI Punjab by 3 runs in a heart-racing match last night at the Wankhede Stadium. Kings XI Punjab’s condition has never been worse as they move down one more spot to accommodate their opponent in the top four.

KXIP won the toss and opted to bowl first, taking the dew settling in the second innings into consideration. KXIP brought Yuvraj Singh and Manoj Tiwary back as Mayank Agarwal and Karun Nair sat back. Mujeeb ur Rahman was still unavailable to make the game. In case of Mumbai Indians, Rohit Sharma replaced JP Duminy by Kieron Pollard.

Suryakumar Yadav (27) and Evin Lewis (9), as usual, opened for the Mumbai Indians. Yadav tried to initiate a good run rate but he was not supported by Lewis, again as usual. Lewis was bowled by Andrew Tye in the fourth over after which wicket-keeper Ishan Kishan came in to replace him (20). Kishan’s cameo for two overs added another 20 runs on the board until he and Yadav were caught in Tye’s hellfire as well.

By the end of the powerplay, MI had lost three crucial wickets but had 60 runs in their pocket.

Rohit Sharma (6) took Kishan’s place and left the field soon to bring in Kieron Pollard (50). Pollard’s fifty saved the team from a mid-innings slump. His partnership with Krunal Pandya (32) kept the momentum going and powered the score to 136 by the fifteenth over. Pollard had been dropped out of the line-up after has weak batting performance but last night, he made sure captain Rohit Sharma did not regret his decision of bringing him back. Just when things were looking good for the MI, Krunal Pandya was dismissed soon after which Pollard sealed his half-century and left the field too. Hardik Pandya (9) and Ben Cutting (4) were brought in to replace the two. Both had very short spells on the field after which Mitchell McClenaghan (11) and Mayank Markande (7) came in. They finished the last two overs of the innings with a score of 186 for 8.

KXIP bowled well last night with Tye at the head and may have even managed to restrict their opponents to a lower score but Pollard’s fifty and Pandya’s cameo really made a difference. Purple cap Andrew Tye was responsible for four of the wickets, including the first three crucial wickets during the power-play. Captain Ashwin himself took down two of his opponents – Kieron Pollard and Ben Cutting. Marcus Stoinis and Ankit Rajpoot took a wicket each but also let too many runs slip. Axar Patel and Mohit Sharma did not help KXIP’s case. A cut-down of a few runs could have made all the difference for KXIP.

For KXIP’s innings, KL Rahul‘s 94 went in vain as has been the usual occurrence in the last few matches. Chris Gayle (19) helped start KXIP with a good scoring as the two took 19 runs off Krunal Pandya in the third over. Gayle, however, then found himself dismissed by Mitchell McClenaghan in the very next over as KXIP rose to cheer. Aaron Finch (46) came in to replace him and together with Rahul, brought 58 runs by the end of power-play and 86 with half of their innings left. In the eleventh over, Rahul took his fiftieth run from Krunal Pandya with one six and six fours. He also took back the orange cap from Rishabh Pant with a season total of 652. He sent Mayank Markande to the bleachers as he hit two consecutive sixes and pushed the score to 145/1 by the end of sixteen overs. Finch was then taken out by Jasprit Bumrah who went on to dismiss Marcus Stoinis (1) as well in the same over. Axar Patel (10) replaced Stoinis and remained undefeated as he supported Rahul reach the 90-mark by the penultimate over. KXIP then faced a massive blow as Rahul was suspended by Bumrah with 20 runs left off 9 balls. Out-of-form Yuvraj Singh (1) then came in and immensely disappointed with his performance as he threw away his wicket to McClenaghan, wasting a ball. Manoj Tiwary (4) then came in and ended the innings with a boundary.

Jasprit Bumrah was named Man of the Match as he spectacularly took out three wickets. Bringing down Rahul was the turning point for KXIP as the following batsmen found themselves incapable of reaching the target themselves. The rest of the MI bowlers did not make any significant contribution and may have reduced the match to fewer overs.

This last-ball win for the Mumbai Indians proved to come at a very crucial point in the season as they built a good net run rate in their previous matches to jump directly into the top four and become a contender for the two remaining playoff spots.

MI will be facing the Delhi Daredevils on Sunday at Delhi while KXIP will clash with the Chennai Super Kings the same night at Pune.

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