Mumbai: Riding on a magnificent innings by Shaun Marsh, Kings XI Punjab held their nerve to edge Mumbai Indians by six wickets in their IPL 5 game at the Wankhede Stadium here on Sunday.
In a comeback match of Sachin Tendulkar, Mumbai won the toss and decided to bat first. But the disciplined Punjab bowlers restricted the much-fancied Mumbai batting line-up to 163 for 6, with Parvinder Awana and Praveen Kumar sharing two wickets each. James Franklin, who opened the batting with Tendulkar, top-scored for the hosts with 79 off 51 balls. Chasing a manageable total, Marsh, with his 40-ball 68, always kept the visitors in the hunt and eventually helped them cross the finish line with three balls to spare.
The young pair of Nitin Saini (30 off 25) and Mandeep Singh (24 off 21) started Punjab’s chase on a positive note, finding gaps regularly off both Munaf Patel RP Singh. The audacious batting of the duo also agitated Patel, who was warned by the on-field umpires for his over-aggressive behaviour. Saini was the first wicket to fall for Punjab when he was trapped lbw by Pragyan Ojha. Mandeep, too, didn’t stay long and was caught by Franklin off Kieron Pollard. That is when Punjab’s stand-in skipper David Hussey joined Marsh and the Australian duo kept Punjab in the game by stitching a 58-run stand for the third wicket.
Although the wicket of Hussey tilted the match slightly in Mumbai’s favour, Marsh ensured that Punjab register their sixth overall victory in nine matches over Mumbai.
Earlier, an agile Punjab outfit saved at least 15-20 runs in the field and restricted Mumbai to 163, which at one stage looked to touch the 180 mark. Barring two expensive overs (12th and 15th) bowled by Bhargav Bhatt Praveen Kumar, in which 19 and 21 runs were scored respectively, Punjab bowlers managed to put the lid on Mumbai’s scoring. The run outs of Tendulkar and Dinesh Karthik (35 off 20) didn’t help the home team’s cause.
Tendulkar was a little circumspect in the beginning, playing the swinging deliveries from Praveen Kumar with caution, before he misjudged a second run and an accurate throw by David Miller found him short of his crease. Karthik was also in fluent touch, scoring five crisp boundaries, before a miscommunication with Franklin cost him his wicket. The two batsmen shared 75 runs for the third wicket.
Franklin had a difficulty in facing Praveen Kumar first up when the bowler beat him consistently with his outswingers. But once set, the New Zealander exploded, hitting four towering sixes and six fours during his innings. Rohit Sharma, who replaced Tendulkar, made two before he was caught behind by Saini off Awana.
The Punjab pacer also struck with the big wicket of Pollard (7 off 10), who was caught brilliantly by Mandeep at the midwicket fence. Along with Awana, who continued his good form with the ball, legspinner Piyush Chawla didn’t let the Mumbai batsmen score freely.