Mumbai Indians leapfrogged to the top of the IPL 2020 points table after beating Kings XI Punjab by 48 runs in Abu Dhabi on Thursday. Rohit Sharma seems to have found a new love affair with Abu Dhabi. He scored 80 against KKR and then followed it up with a 70 against KXIP.
Meanwhile, Kings XI Punjab after making a good start to the tournament has lost three games so far. With the tournament intensifying with every passing game, teams are giving it their best to end up on the right side of the result.
Here are the 5 Talking points from the Mumbai Indians vs Kings XI Punjab contest:
1) Rohit’s new found love with Abu Dhabi
Rohit Sharma seems to be developing a love affair with Abu Dhabi in this IPL. He has two fifties in three games for Mumbai Indians at this venue. He scored 80 against KKR in Mumbai’s last match at Abu Dhabi and followed it up with a 70 against Punjab.
He has already hit 9 sixes in the three games that he has played. Mumbai will play four more games at this venue.
2) The Pollard-Pandya Partnership
Mumbai Indians were 124/4 when Rohit Sharma was dismissed at the start of the 17th over. In the next three overs, the Pandya and Pollard power came to the fore, as they added 77 off 33 balls among them. They hit six fours and six sixes in their partnership as the Kings XI bowlers were ducking for cover.
Mumbai finally ended their innings on 191 for 4. The duo has been immensely consistent for Mumbai at playing these menacing innings in the last couple of years and this MI vs SRH contest was an example of the same.
3) Kings XI Punjab’s Death Bowling Worries
Kings XI Punjab has been leaking runs in the final five overs so far in the tournament. Marcus Stoinis spanked them round the park in Dubai in their first game. It was Rahul Tewatia in the second who scored 30 off Sheldon Cottrell in one of the death overs when Punjab played Rajasthan. In the third game, it was the Pollard and Pandya pair which decimated the Punjab bowlers in the death overs.
Jimmy Neesham went for 18 from his 18th over. Mohammed Shami went for 19 from the 19th over and Krishnappa Gowtham, who was given the responsibility to bowl the final over of the Mumbai innings went for 25. Cumulatively, the Punjab bowlers went for 89 from their final overs, which increases to 104 in the last six.
4) Below Par Punjab Middle-Order Batting
KXIP’s middle-order failed to cover up the runs which their bowlers leaked in the final five to six overs. Nicholas Pooran (44), Glenn Maxwell (11), Jimmy Neesham (7), Sarfaraz Khan (7) yielded 69 runs between themselves trying to win the game for their side.
While Maxwell is yet to find form in the UAE, the other three were not just good on the night. With the tournament getting towards the critical phase of the season, it is imperative that Maxwell finds his form and not play get selected just on his reputation.
5) Search On For Finding Punjab’s Perfect Combo
In two back-to-back matches now, Kings XI Punjab bowlers have lost the plot in the death overs. Punjab skipper has hinted at a few changes in their next game and it is time for the management to identify the person who can help turn around their season.
“Another bowling option would be nice… an all-rounder option who can bat and bowl well” said Rahul as he lamented the performance of his bowlers in the final five overs.