It was skipper KL Rahul‘s evening throughout. He won the toss, used his bowlers judiciously to restrict Mumbai to a below-par 131/6 and anchored the chase with a handsome 60 not out off 52 balls to help his team register their second win in the tournament.
SCORECARD | POINTS TABLE | AS IT HAPPENED
Rahul and his fellow opener Mayank Agarwal got Punjab off to a flying 53-run start in the Powerplay before Mumbai’s strike bowler Rahul Chahar pulled them back with the wicket of Agarwal for a 20-ball 25, laced with four hits to the fence and once over it.
Rahul started off aggressively, slamming Krunal Pandya for a couple of consecutive fours and taking Jasprit Bumrah to the cleaners. However, he shifted gears after losing Agarwal. With new man Chris Gayle (43 not out off 35 balls) taking some time to get his eye in, and the asking rate mounting, the Karnataka right-hander focused on keeping it down to the ones and twos.
But once the Jamaican warmed up with two consecutive fours and a towering six over long on off Jayant Yadav, Rahul also decided to go the aerial way against Keiron Pollard, milking the West Indian for a six over fine leg before bringing up a run-a-ball 50.
From there on, it was one-way traffic for Punjab, with the right-left combo stretching their unbeaten second-wicket partnership to 79 runs and ensuring that the Kings got over the line with 14 balls to spare.
Earlier, with a well-set Rohit (63 off 52 balls; 4×5, 6×2) and Suryakumar Yadav (33) in the middle, Mumbai Indians were expected to up the ante in the last four overs. But Rahul’s decision to save his best bowlers in Mohammed Shami (2/21), Ravi Bishnoi (2/21) and Arshdeep Singh (1/28) for the death helped Punjab stem the run flow.
Bishnoi managed to break the 79-run third–wicket stand with the scalp of Yadav, who holed one to Chris Gayle after hitting three boundaries and a six for his 27-ball knock. Rohit soon joined Yadav in the dugout, thanks to Fabian Allen holding a skier on the ropes off Shami in the 18th over.
IPL 2021: Punjab Kings beat Mumbai Indians by 9 wickets
Keiron Pollard (16) raged a lone battle to collect as many as possible in the final overs, even as the Pandya brothers flopped with the bat once again.
Mumbai skipper Rohit quickly got over a sluggish start that saw him score 17 off the first 20 balls before launching a counterattack. Rohit took a special liking to left-arm spinner Fabien Allen, welcoming the West Indian with back-to-back boundaries before hitting him for a six to the long-on boundary. From then, there was no looking back for the Mumbai skipper, who got to his half century in 37 balls.
IPL 2021, Match 17: Punjab Kings vs Mumbai Indians
<p>Punjab Kings ended a three-match losing streak and handed defending champions Mumbai Indians a nine-wicket thrashing in the Indian Premier League on Friday. (PTI Photo for IPL)</p>
Meanwhile, it hardly mattered which position Suryakumar Yadav gets to bat, given the kind of form he currently is in. Coming in at No.4 with Mumbai tottering at 26/2, he played the perfect second fiddle to his skipper to set the tone. As it turned out, it just wasn’t enough on the day.