For the second match of the day, KXIP faced off against MI. KXIP is already the wooden spoon holder of the tournament and cannot afford to lose one more match in the league stage if they want to qualify for the playoffs. MI, on the other hand, is tussling with DC for the table-topper position. They both look to be on the opposite side of the same spectrum. However, the inclusion of Chris Gayle in the KXIP batting has suddenly lent more depth to the team and the Universe Boss has boosted the morale of the side from the last match.
Rohit Sharma won the toss and decided to bat on a Dubai wicket, which has been more famous for its disproportionate square boundaries. Both teams did not make any change to their team from the last match, exhibiting the confidence they had in the combination.
MI was rocked early on in the inning. After a long time. KXIP finally succeeded to pick up wickets in the powerplay. The very impressive Arshdeep Singh, who is showing his mettle with the ball, every match picked up Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan to dent MI up at the top. The simplicity of Arshdeep’s bowling is what impresses me the most. Against Rohit, he just kept the ball on a good length and ensured that the batsman was given no room at all. Suffocated at being tied down, Rohit fell trying to cut a ball, that was too close to the stumps.
Surya Yadav and Ishan Kishan were dismissed after playing horrible shots to Shami and Arshdeep and MI were reduced to 38-3 in 5 overs. In the last blog, I spoke about the fact how De Kock’s acquisition has changed MI’s batting prowess completely. With the presence of Rohit at the other end, generally, De Kock goes berserk from the first ball. However, today he showed the more mature aspect of his game. Having lost 3 wickets in the powerplay, he crafted a vital 58 run partnership with Krunal to consolidate the inning.
De Kock played the anchor’s role tonight, as he scored 53 off 43 deliveries, his 4th fifty in the last 5 matches. The duo of Pandya and De Kock ensured that Pollard, Hardik, and Coulter-Nile have a solid base to capitalize on in the slog overs. Captain KL was pretty ordinary in this regard as well, as the lynchpin of the attack, Ravi Bishnoi was just given 2 overs in the match. While Krunal and QDK consolidated, KXIP looked more interested in extracting quite overs from Maxwell and Hooda, rather than giving Bishnoi the opportunity to break the partnership.
Finally, it was Bishnoi, who broke the partnership with Krunal getting caught at long leg. Bishnoi ended the match, having conceded just 12 from his 2 overs. What a pity that he could not finish his quota for KXIP! Hardik missed out tonight, However, Coulter-Nile coupled with Pollard ensured that MI got the final flourish that they so desperately needed. Death bowling from Jordan and Shami proved to be an issue once again, as KXIP conceded 54 off the last 3 overs. With the wayward death bowling skills, KXIP is getting called for being the RCB this season.
KXIP started off with the highest and 2nd highest run-getter of the tournament, as their openers. Mayank missed out early tonight. KL Rahul is like a rock in the Punjab batting. After the arrival of Gayle in the batting line up, the pressure over him has eased a bit. Chris Gayle is looking an increasingly mature version of himself this IPL, as he is rotating the strike along with hitting the big boundaries.
Tonight he scored a paltry 24 off 21 deliveries but joined hands with KL for a very valuable 42-run partnership to set up the chase for Punjab. Nicholas Pooran came in and played another bit of cameo- something that he has done so well for his franchise this IPL. In some matches, the cames have been the 20s and in some, the cameos have been 70s – but nevertheless, it has been audacious cameos. KXIP will want this West Indian wicketkeeper to bat with more responsibility and play long inning instead of cameos.
Rohit Sharma gets on the field with just one go-to strategy whenever he needs wickets. Rohit turns to Bumrah and he doesn’t know how to disappoint. Bumrah is returning to his absolute best after a rather slow start to the season. Picking up a wicket in the powerplay, picking up a wicket in the middle overs, picking up a wicket at the death, he did it all tonight. Jasprit Bumrah has become Rohit’s wish-granting genie on the field. Rahul Chahar proved successful with his under-the-radar performance yet again as he bowled an economical spell scalping Maxwell in the process.
As I said, KL Rahul is the rock in the KXIP batting who keeps churning out those 60s and 70s every match. KL Rahul is looking in supreme touch, to be honest, and Team India is surely salivating at their premier batsman’s form this IPL, with the Australian tour coming up. Tonight he played another mind-blowing inning of 77 but was dismissed at the wrong time by a Bumrah yorker. Luckily today, the underrated Deepak Hooda came to the fore and he along with Jordan took KXIP near the target in the final overs.
An excellent final over from Boult and a freak run out of the last ball from KXIP meant that we headed into the 2nd super over of the day. Well, for as much as I praise Bumrah today for his performance in the death overs, I hold Shami in very high accolade for his excellent death bowling skills. He went for runs in the death in the actual match but was spot on with his yorkers in the super over.
Both the teams were tied down to 5 apiece, in the super over. Neither KL-Pooran nor QDK-Rohit was good enough to get Bumrah and Shami for boundaries and for the very first time in IPL history, Super over 2.0 came to the fore. Pollard and Hardik came out to bat against Jordan as none of the players participating in the first super over were allowed to take part in the second. This time, however, MI scored 11 off Jordan.
With the excitement at its peak and the night not ending, the Universe Boss and Mayank came out to bat in the second super over of the match. Gayle made light work of the chase having slammed Boult for 6 off his first delivery. Mayank scored a well-timed boundary through covers to end Super over 2.0 for KXIP.
In what has been a cliffhanger of a match, KXIP emerged victoriously and got the much needed 2 points to stay in contention for the playoff spot. We now have a strange situation in the league table where CSK, SRH, RR, and KXIP are all tied with 6 points from 9 matches. Does IPL have further surprises for us this week? Wil wait to find that out.