Mumbai Indians lose rare encounter at Wankhede as they go down to Kings XI Punjab by 18 runs
Mumbai Indians' fortress, the Wankhede Stadium was finally breached yesterday as Kings XI Punjab emerged triumphant by 18 runs in an Indian Premier League-8 (IPL) match. Mumbai Indians were unbeaten at the Wankhede in the 2013 season and lost only one match out of five in the last IPL.
Kings XI Punjab pacer Mitchell Johnson celebrates the wicket of Aaron Finch at Wankhede yesterday. Pic/PTI
For Kings XI Punjab, skipper George Bailey brought up his maiden IPL half-century as the visitors put up 177-5 in their 20 overs. Had it not been for Harbhajan Singh's entertaining 24-ball 64 (5x4s and 6x6s), MI would have been guilty of going down without putting up a fight. In the process, Harbhajan scored the fastest 50 (19 balls) by a MI player.
Chasing 178 to win, MI were dented by early blows. Skipper Rohit Sharma, who scored a brilliant unbeaten 98 in the last match, was done in by an inswinging beauty from Sandeep Sharma on the second ball of MI's innings.
Anureet Singh then removed Mumbai's Ranji Trophy skipper Aditya Tare (5). MI were further put on the backfoot after hard-hitting opener Aaron Finch was scalped by a pumped-up Mitchell Johnson for eight.
Mumbai Indians' Harbhajan Singh goes slam bang against Kings XI Punjab yesterday. Pic/Suresh KK
This was MI's worst-ever start in the IPL as they managed to score only 17 runs and hit just one four in their first six overs. An over later Axar Patel had Corey Anderson (5) stumped by a fumbling Wriddhiman Saha in his first over. It lseemed like someone had just pressed the mute button at Wankhede.
After eight overs, MI were 26 for four as hopes slowly faded. Kieron Pollard (20) hit some lusty blows to provide some entertainment. But then Patel tempted the West Indian by giving him some flight and got him out caught by David Miller at long-off.
Harbhajan put life in to the Wankhede crowd with some clean hits over the fence. His three consecutive sixes off Anureet Singh literally brought the crowd on to their toes. Harbhajan's 100-run stand in 37 balls with debutant Jagdeesha Suchith (34 not out) brought the equation dramatically close. Earlier, the offie Harbhajan (4-0-20-2) did well to pull back a rampaging Kings XI Punjab.
At one point the visitors were on course for a score well above 200, especially after the flying start provided by Punjab openers Virender Sehwag (36) and Murali Vijay (35). After six overs KXIP were 57 for no loss. With most MI bowlers taken to cleaners, MI skipper Rohit Sharma decided to bowl Harbhajan and that turned out to be a good decision.