Dharamsala: Kings XI Punjab produced an all-round show as they ended their Indian Premier League campaign on a winning note with a 50-run humiliation of Mumbai Indians here on Saturday.
Riding on fine half centuries from Azhar Mahmood (80) and Shaun Marsh (63), Punjab posted a big total of 183 for four after being put in to bat and then shot Mumbai out for 133 in 19.1 overs at the picturesque HPCA Stadium.
Punjab ended the tournament with 16 points from 16 matches while the outcome of today’s match did not make much of a difference to Mumbai, except for the fact that their confidence has been dented ahead of the knock-out stage.
Despite the loss, Mumbai, who ended the league stage on 22 points from 16 matches, would still play against Chennai Super Kings in the Qualifier 1 in New Delhi on May 21 as their top-2 finish had already been secured before this match.
Chasing a big target of 184, Mumbai never had a substantial partnership, the biggest being the 39-run stand between captain Rohit Sharma (25) and Kieron Pollard (22) for the sixth wicket. Ambati Rayudu top-scored with a 22-ball 26.
All the top-order batsmen except for opener Glenn Maxwell (0) and Dinesh Karthik (0) got the starts but could not convert them to big scores. For Punjab, Piyush Chawla and Sandeep Sharma grabbed two wickets apiece while Praveen Kumar and Parvinder Awana took a wicket each.
Interestingly, Punjab captain Adam Gilchrist, who was playing his last IPL match, got a wicket, the only wicket in his illustrious career. Mumbai needed 51 runs from the last over and it was a mere formality. To the surprise of everybody in the stadium, Gilchrist stepped up to bowl the last over and got Harbhajan Singh’s wicket from the first ball.
Gilchrist bowled an innocuous off-spinner and Harbhajan slogged one-handed and the ball went straight to Gurkeerat Singh’s hand at long-on. The Australian great celebrated the wicket with a jig, a half Gangnam style.
Mumbai were set at the backfoot in the first over itself with Maxwell being dismissed for a duck of the bowling of Praveen Kumar. The batsman went for a big swing only to get a thick top edge for Manan Vohra to take the catch at third man.
The other opener Tare seemed to be undeterred by his partner’s dismissal as he hit Azhar Mahmood for a six and a four in the second over.
Tare, however, perished while playing one shot too many as he hit Sandeep Sharma for a six in the fourth over before being dismissed next ball, clean-bowled. Tare hit two fours and as many sixes in his 12-ball knock.
Mumbai captain Rohit Sharma and Rayudu took 14 runs from the sixth over bowled by Sandeep Sharma with the help of three fours but the asking rate kept on rising as the boundaries were not coming every over.
The pressure to go for shots led to loss of two quick wickets in the form of Rayudu and Karthik in the ninth and 10th overs respectively and Mumbai were four wickets down for 69 runs, needing 122 runs from the remaining 10 overs.
Rohit, on whom Mumbai depended a lot this season, was out in the 12th over as he made room to cut a Chawla delivery only to miss it and found his off stump being clipped. By the time Rohit was out, the asking had shot over 13 an over and it was a tough ask for Kieron Pollard (22) and the lower order to even reach near the target.
Earlier, Azhar Mahmood and Shaun Marsh smashed a half century each and rescued Kings XI Punjab from a disastrous start to post 183 for eight.
Already out of contention for a play-off berth, Punjab played freely with Marsh (63) and Mahmood (80) punishing the errant Mumbai bowlers with a slew of fours and sixes after being put in to bat.
Mahmood struck eight fours and four sixes in his 44-ball knock while Marsh hit 11 fours during his 47-ball innings. The duo rescued the Punjab side with a 148-run third wicket stand in 14.2 overs after the hosts were reduced to six for two in the third over.
Mahmood was the more aggressive of the duo who scored more than 10 runs an over. Manan Vohra chipped in with an eight-ball cameo of 20 not out towards the end.
For Mumbai, Lasith Malinga grabbed three wickets for 39 runs while Nathan Coulter-Nile, Rishi Dhawan, Harbhajan Singh and Kieron Pollard took a wicket apiece. Punjab had the worst possible start with openers Mandeep Singh (1) and Adam Gilchrist (5) back in the dressing room by the third over with just six runs on board.
Mandeep misread a Dhawan delivery which pitched outside off and ended up spooning it straight to Pollard at mid-off in the second over.Gilchrist failed to make a mark on his last IPL match as he was out in the third over, clean-bowled by Coulter-Nile.
The two jolts slowed down Punjab batting but Marsh and Mahmood began their repair work slowly but picked up steam later on.
Marsh hit three fours in the sixth over bowled by Dhawal Kulkarni to herald the beginning of the onslaught. Malinga bore the brunt of Mahmood’s aggression as the batsman hit a six and three fours in four consecutive balls to take 20 runs from the eight over.
Punjab were 80 for two at the halfway stage and there was a brief lull before Mahmood picked Glenn Mexwell for treatment by hitting two sixes and a four in three successive balls in the 13th over. He was dropped in the next over while on 50 by Coulter-Nile, the unfortunate bowler being Dhawan.Marsh was also dropped in the same over by Harbhajan while on 54.
The Australian was out in the 17th over while going for a slog off a Harbhajan delivery which clipped the leg stump. Mahmood followed suit in the next over LBW to Malinga to end a rollicking innings. David Miller (6),Gurkeerat Singh (0), Piyush Chawla (1) and Praveen Kumar (0) did not last long.