KL Rahul-led Punjab Kings strolled past Mumbai Indians with a comfortable nine-wicket win to bounce back into the the Indian Premier League 2021.
The Punjab bowlers made full use of the tricky Chepauk pitch to trap the Mumbai batsmen from the beginning.
After all, letting the likes of Ishan Kishan and Rohit Sharma score only 21 runs in the powerplay is an uphill task that not many bowling line-ups in the world can do.
Moises Henriques and part-time bowler Deepak Hooda did the early damage by getting out Quinton De Kock and bowling 6 economical overs for just 27 runs.
This created the perfect stage for a 20 year old leg break googly bowler from Jodhpur to show his wares.
Ravi Bishnoi, coming in as a replacement for Murugan Ashwin flummoxed Ishan Kishan with a big-spinning googly in his opening over.
By the time he ended his 4 overs, he has added the scalp of Suryakumar Yadav Suryakumar Yadav who played a 37-run cameo.
Bishnoi sucked out all momentum from the Mumbai innings, finishing with 2/21.
While Sharma played a patient knock of 63 off 52, none of the batters extended their stay for long.
Nonetheless, the 132-run target proved to be too easy for an in-form KL Rahul.
For a batsman who averages 64.44 against MI, his unbeaten 60 was not a shocker.
Chris Gayle plays the situation
Known for his power game, Gayle sensed early that the Chennai track is not a batting paradise.
The 41-year-old played sensibly for his 43 not out, checking the ball for singles with quick running between the wickets.
His return to form on a difficult track is excellent news for the Punjab management.
While KL Rahul has been in sublime form this season too, Punjab desperately needed Gayle to fire at number 3.
The Jayant Yadav show
Don’t let the numbers fool you when it comes to Jayant Yadav’s performance with the ball tonight.
Apart from one over where Chris Gayle got the better of him, Yadav troubled both Rahul and the Caribbean star with sheer game awareness.
His 0/20 was crucial in the low-scoring contest.
As dew made the ball wet, Yadav ditched the spin for skid. He began bowling pacey sliders that almost dismissed Gayle.
Going ahead, Jayant Yadav can another weapon in the Mumbai bowling arsenal.
Punjab Kings 132 for 1 (Rahul 60*, Gayle 43*) beat Mumbai Indians 131 for 6 (Sharma 63, Yadav 33, Shami 2-21, Bishnoi 2-21) by nine wickets
Preview: Rajasthan Royals vs Kolkata Knight Riders
Kolkata Knight Riders will lock horns with Rajasthan Royals in the 18th game of IPL 2021 at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium on Saturday night.
Best probable performer
Andre Russell has a habit of improving with every game.
With a gritty 31 against Royal Challengers Bangalore and quickfire 54 in the last outing against Chennai Super Kings, he will back himself to go berserk against the under-performing Royals.
What makes him deadly for the opposition is his ability to be equally effective with the ball.
His 5/15 in the losing cause against Mumbai Indians spoke volumes of his bowling abilities.
Both KKR and RR haven’t had the best start to this season’s campaign.
While both franchises have clinched only one win in four games, KKR seems to have a tad more weapons up its sleeves.
Eoin Morgan’s men have failed to bat well, but there’s no question about the quality of their side.
Rajasthan Royals have been hit due to the absence of Liam Livingstone, Jofra Archer, and Ben Stokes.
The three Englishmen were part of their regular team and the Royals management is having a tough time adjusting without them.
While Jos Buttler has started well in most games, he hasn’t scored a single fifty yet.
Opener Manan Vohra is yet to impress and Sanju Samson has been inconsistent.
Considering the Royals’ bad run, KKR could clinch their second win of the tournament on Saturday.