Rohit Sharma couldn’t have asked for a better gift ahead of his 26th birthday. On the eve of this big day, the Mumbai Indians skipper played one of his most memorable knocks in recent times, slamming an unbeaten 79 in just 39 balls which propelled MI to 174 for three as they snatched a four-run win over Kings XI Punjab.
MI’s Rohit Sharma in sublime form against KXIP at Wankhede Stadium yesterday. Pics/Atul Kamble
In reply, Punjab managed 170 runs to hand MI a four-run win as the hosts maintained their 100 per cent win record at home in the sixth edition of the Pepsi Indian Premier League match yesterday.
Credit to David Miller for his 34-ball 56 that helped Punjab come close to the target. But the match wasn’t over until Praveen Kumar’s 14-ball 24 cameo, which provided some anxious moments in the final over, came to an end. Needing 17 off the last over bowled by Dhawal Kulkarni, Praveen brought it down to five off the last ball with a huge six on the penultimate ball. However, the maverick pacer, trying to slice, was caught by Tendulkar at point off the last ball.
Punjab’s fate was more or less sealed once stand-in skipper David Hussey was dismissed for 34. But Miller, maintaining his calm, kept attacking even as wickets kept tumbling at the other end. The southpaw was eventually dismissed in the 18th over caught by Sachin Tendulkar off Mitchell Johnson.
Harbhajan Singh was the pick of the bowlers, claiming three wickets for 14 in his four overs.
Sharma’s knock was extra special as his childhood coach Dinesh Lad was present for the first time at the venue to witness his ward’s IPL performance.
“Rohit personally sent tickets for my whole family and insisted that I make it to the ground. I generally don’t go whenever he is playing,” Lad told MiD DAY after Sharma’s blockbuster innings.