IPL matches on Tuesday and Wednesday were high-scoring contests. At Mumbai on Tuesday, a late charge by MI batsmen helped them log their second straight win in two matches. However, having lost the first five, it is still an uphill task for them to finish within the top four. On Wednesday, batting second at the Kotla, KKR replicated their 2-day old batting performance with a difference and got past DD with 10 balls to spare. Later that night, viewers were witness to the Maxwell-aided run-fest, in which KXIP steamrolled the formidable CSK by setting a mammoth 232-run target that proved too hot in the end for the Chennai batsmen.
In Mumbai, RCB went for a chase after winning the toss. MI openers scored 25, before Ben Dunk fell in the 4th over. Though Rayudu could only score 9, he helped Gautam in playing a major role in a 41-run second wicket stand. But Rayudu, Gautam and Corey Anderson fell quickly and with 84/4 at halfway mark; MI didn’t look like finishing on a winning note. With just Aditya Tare left, Mumbai’s poor line-up lay exposed and everything depended on Rohit Sharma and Kieron Pollard. The two big hitters exercised caution and added just 29 in the first 5 overs of their partnership. However, they added muscle in the slog overs. They were helped by RCB’s wayward bowlers, who conceded 25 extras, including 12 wides. Before Pollard got out in the 20th over, he and Sharma had added 97 runs in the last 10 overs and 6 more came after Pollard was run-out for 43 off 31 balls. There was an ugly altercation between Mitchell Starc and Pollard, who exchanged heated words and Pollard threw his bat. But it passed off with interventions from here and there. Rohit Sharma finished with a 35-ball 59, sprinkled with 3 fours and 4 sixes. The final score of 187/5 was extremely competitive, despite RCB’s fiery batting line-up. Parthiv Patel led RCB’s charge against the 188-run target but Gayle soon joined him. Patel was bowled round his legs, when he shaped for slog-sweep off a Harbhajan’s delivery. A little later, after he helped Kohli in producing a 41-run second wicket stand, Gayle got out to a ball from Harbhajan, in a manner, identical to one that got Parthiv Patel out when he tried the slog-sweep. At the end of 12 overs, RCB required 72 runs in 48 balls with Kohli and de Villiers batting. It was an easily achievable target with Yuvraj and Rossuow to follow. However, the fall of three quick wickets reversed the advantage. First Jasprit Bumrah bowled de Villiers in the 13th over and in the next, Kohli holed out in the deep. Yuvraj was short of his crease, when he attempted a single and Pollard’s presence of mind made him kick ball on the stumps. After this, in every over RCB lost a wicket and they fell short by 19 runs in the end.
In Wednesday’s first match, DD opted to bat after winning the toss but lost early wickets to lend the advantage to KKR. First, Quinton de Kock fell to an indiscreet stroke but the most stupid dismissal was reserved for Kevin Pietersen, who pushed forward to a delivery from Shakib Al Hasan and started running. This allowed the wicket-keeper enough time to pick up the ball and shatter the stumps. Murali Vijay and Dinesh Karthik tried to steady the innings but the scoring rate suffered. Until the 16th over, DD had made just 105/5. Thanks to Duminy and Jadhav, the team could reach a respectable 160/5 in the end, which included 29 off Sunil Narine’s last two overs. KKR mounted their chase with the second successive century stand for the first wicket. But this time, Gambhir and Uthappa were in no mood to repeat the miraculous collapse, they suffered against RR, two nights ago. All through the chase, KKR kept themselves ahead with Gambhir looking like his old confident self. Uthappa was unflappable again as an opener and when the two got out by the 18th over, Manish Pandey and Jacques Kallis ensured that KKR surpass DD smoothly with 10 balls left.
In the last game yesterday night, Glenn Maxwell played like he did in the first three matches for KXIP this season, and rightly won himself, the player of the match award in the process. After the toss, CSK chose to allow Punjab the first strike and what a strike it proved to be! After openers Mandeep and Sehwag got out at 38 in 5.2 overs, Maxwell and Miller devastated CSK bowling in making 135 runs in just over 10 overs. Maxwell’s 90 off 38 included 5 fours and 8 sixes while Miller took 32 balls for his 47 with 5 fours and 2 sixes. After Maxwell and Miller got out, Bailey produced a 13-ball 40 that included 6 fours and 2 sixes. With Johnson also chipping in with 10 off 6, KXIP reached 231/4, the highest total this season. Interestingly KXIP’s first 10 overs had produced only 69 runs but the next 10 counted for a whopping 162. With Bailey and Johnson swing their bats, the last 16 balls were banged for 49 runs. CSK had the batting to match the big scores but the target of 232 was a way too daunting. Dwayne Smith got out in the first over and Raina left in the 8th for 35. McCullum carried on with Jadeja but the asking rate kept mounting. Only Faf du Plessis stood out with a knock of 52 off 25 balls. Otherwise, KXIP were always ahead in the race and despite an otherwise nice-looking score of 187/6, CSK fell short off the target and lost by 44 runs in the end.
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