Kings XI Punjab’s poor run of form continued on Thursday (April 20) as they lost their fourth game on the bounce, this time against Mumbai Indians.
The blazing start by Parthiv Patel (37 in 18 balls) and Jos Buttler (77 in 37), and Nitish Rana’s frenetic 34-ball 62 not out later on helped Mumbai pull off the 199-run chase easily in just 15.3 overs, and that meant Hashim Amla’s unbeaten 104 for Punjab went in vain.
Amla, whose place in the Punjab starting XI has been questioned at times, scored his runs in just 60 balls with eight fours and six sixes to silence his critics for the time being.
“I am really glad to get some runs. It was a good wicket to bat on and the boundaries were small,” he said after the game. When asked about hitting Lasith Malinga for back-to-back sixes in the final over of the Punjab innings, Amla only said, “Lasith’s an excellent bowler. Some days you manage to get boundaries off him but he is a world-class bowler.”
Chasing Punjab’s 198 for 4, Buttler first and then Parthiv blazed away. So much so that when Parthiv was dismissed with one ball left in the Power Play, Mumbai had already reached 81.
“Mumbai played exceptionally well. They came out all guns blazing and managed to score a lot of runs in the Power Play. I think that was a really crucial factor in getting through as comfortably as they did,” explained Amla. “As we saw with Mumbai’s batting, sometimes certain shots get played and as a bowling side you just have to say, ‘Well played’.”
Buttler, who went on till the 14th over against the mediocre Punjab bowling, accepted that while he had felt in good batting form, he hadn’t done as much as he could have before the latest game. “I haven’t really kicked on and made a big contribution, so delighted today to really go on and make that good score,” he said. “It was a fantastic wicket and a small ground, it was great fun out there.”
On his partnership with Parthiv, Buttler said, “We both played our natural games. We complemented each other quite well. He’s a short left-hander who looks to sit back and play square of the wicket; it complements me with a different style at the other end. It’s great fun to bat with a very calm guy and it’s great that we managed to put on a big partnership.”
“The schedule has been pretty jam-packed – three games in five days was tough on the minds and the bodies. People were a bit tired especially in the travel. It works to your advantage as well when you get on a roll, you have that momentum and the guys are confident especially when you’re winning and you can carry that momentum.” – Buttler.
After the start Mumbai got, victory was never really in any serious doubt. “We probably needed eight an over for 14 or 15 overs. We knew that we could really keep going because we had lots of batters to come as well,” said Buttler.
Mumbai have so far played six games and have two more lined up on Saturday and Monday before getting a bit of a break, and Buttler was looking forward to it. “It’s great to have a break now. The schedule has been pretty jam-packed – three games in five days was tough on the minds and the bodies. People were a bit tired especially in the travel,” he said. “It works to your advantage as well when you get on a roll, you have that momentum and the guys are confident especially when you’re winning and you can carry that momentum.”
Mumbai are well placed with five wins in six games. As for Punjab, with four losses from six outings, it’s starting to get tough. Their next game, against Gujarat Lions who are bottom of the table, will be crucial for both teams.
“Of course, there is a chance (to get to the playoffs),” said Amla. “Every team has a chance of making the playoffs. We are only halfway through the competition. If you get on a good roll, you get consecutive victories and the momentum you never know, what can happen.”