Mumbai Indians rode on destructive half centuries from Jos Buttler and young Nitish Rana to thrash Kings XI Punjab by eight wickets in an Indian Premier League 2017 encounter at the Holkar Cricket Stadium on Thursday
Mumbai Indians cricketer Nitish Rana (C) celebrates with Hardik Pandya after winning the 2017 Indian Premier League match against Kings XI Punjab at the Holkar Stadium in Indore on Thursday. Pic/AFP
Indore: South African star Hashim Amla's maiden unbeaten T20 century wasn't enough as Mumbai Indians rode on some brilliant batting by Jos Buttler and Nitish Rana to thrash Kings XI Punjab by 8-wickets here on Thursday.
The comprehensive win was Mumbai's 5th consecutive one and they continue to remain on top of the points table.
Chasing a difficult 199 to win, Mumbai made a mockery of the stiff target as they oercame it with 27 balls remaining.
Buttler and Rana plundered a hapless Kings XI Punjab bowling as MI reached the target in 15.3 overs. Buttler hit 77 off 37 and Rana scoring an unbeaten 62 off 34 balls. Mumbai Indians now have 10 points from six games.
Mumbai Indians cricketer Jos Buttler plays a shot during his match-winning knock against Kings XI Punjab at the Holkar Stadium in Indore on Thursday. Pic/AFP
Chasing a mammoth 199, the opening duo of Parthiv Patel (37) and Buttler dealt mostly in boundaries to raise Mumbai's highest first wicket stand of all IPL seasons of 81 runs, as the Punjab bowlers had little to counter the left-right pair.
Buttler started the onslaught from the very first over dispatching medium pacer Sandeep Sharma for a six before lofting him for another in his next over as Mumbai raced to 50 in just four overs.
Medium pacer Mohit Sharma was at the receiving end in his very first over, when Buttler milked him for three consecutive boundaries after Parthiv got one off the first ball.
The diminutive Patel was not too far behind and joined the party by cracking Ishant Sharma for a four and then a huge six off the legs before welcoming Marcus Stoinis with another huge six over deep midwicket.
Stonis, however got the better of the southpaw off a slower ball when Parthiv, who faced 18 balls and struck four boundaries and two sixes, failed to time it properly and ended in the hands of Glenn Maxwell at mid off.
Such was the carnage from the Mumbai duo that there were only five dots in the powerplay, including the wicket ball of Parthiv and more importantly included 14 boundaries.
Buttler, who had faced 23 balls by now, got to his fifty with a single to the right of long-on as Rana took the onus of getting the big shots.
The fall of the Gujarat wicketkeeper-batsman did not deter the visitors from scoring freely and No.3 Nitish Rana continued his great run with the willow to get his fourth half century of the season off 29 balls.
Rana started by launching Stoinis for a maximum before taking the likes of Ishant, Axar Patel and Swapnil Singh to the cleaners to take Mumbai to 123/1 midway into their innings.
Rana dominated the 85-run second wicket stand with Buttler, who was undone by Mohit's slower delivery with Mumbai within sniffing distance of victory.
Thereafter, Hardik Pandya struck a four and a six in his 4-ball 15 before Rana pulled Mohit over the long leg boundary for a six to seal the deal in the visitors' favour.
Kings XI bowlers could only blame themselves for letting the opportunity slip as none of the them had an economy rate of less than 10 runs an over.
Earlier, Amla's classy hundred powered Kings XI Punjab to a competitive 198/4 against Mumbai Indians.
Playing shots that would delight the purists, Amla spanked all the Mumbai bowlers en route his unbeaten 104 off 60 balls, which included as many as six sixes apart from eight boundaries.
In fact five of the half dozen sixes were hit off Sri Lankan slinger Lasith Malinga (0/58 in 4 overs).
There were straight hits, shirt arm jabs over long-on, slashes over point, hook, and a majestic pull-shot in 'Nataraja style', which brought up his first hundred in shortest format as well second of this edition.
Skipper Glenn Maxwell, on his part played a typically breezy innings smashing 40 off 18 balls with the help of four boundaries and three sixes.
It was the 3rd wicket partnership between Amla and Maxwell that produced 83 runs in only 5.3 overs to send the Mumbai attack in complete disarray.
Kings XI Punjab cricketer Hashim Amla celebrates after scoring a century (100 runs) during the 2017 Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket match between Kings XI Punjab and Mumbai Indians at The Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore on Thursday. Pic/AFP
The last six overs produced an astounding 87 runs after KXIP were 111 for 2 at the end of the 14th over.
It was the 15th over of the innings were Maxwell decided to tee off taking 28 runs off the Mitchell McLenaghan over. The KXIP skipper hit the hapless New Zealand international for three sixes and two fours as he got the required momentum.
The very next over from Malinga saw Amla punce on him taking 22 off that over and suddenly 50 runs came off two overs.
While Jasprit Bumrah cleaned up Maxwell but Amla was well set by then as he showed one and all that a century in shortest format could be scored playing all the proper cricketing shots. There were drives on the up, cut shots and also lofted shot in-front of the square as well as behind the square.
The true nature of the pitch also helped Amla, who infact enjoyed Malinga's back of the length deliveries.
It was baffling as senior pro Harbhajan Singh, who gave away only 12 runs in 2 overs, didn't get to finish his quota of overs.