A steady Suryakumar Yadav

Bumrah and Suryakumar lead an exciting MI victory.

At their home stadium at Mullanpur, Punjab Kings lost their third straight final-over drama as Mumbai Indians edged home to win by nine runs for their third victory of the season to stay up with the other playoff contenders. For much of the game, it looked like the visitors were coasting to win, but Ashutosh Sharma’s incredible knock of 61 off 28 turned the tide. However, Jasprit Bumrah (3 for 21) delivered yet another outstanding bowling display that helped the visitors maintain composure and win, guaranteeing that Suryakumar Yadav’s outstanding 78 off 53 wasn’t in vain.

Consistent Suryakumar Yadav

The fact that this was the only knock by Suryakumar Yadav in T20 cricket history to score at a strike-rate below 160 indicates that this was not a barnstorming wicket, particularly in the opening innings. Out of his 17 T20 cricket runs of 75 or more. However, he was usually fast out the blocks when MI was asked to bat, smashing Kagiso Rabada for two fours in the game’s third over. At the conclusion of the powerplay, MI reached 54/1 thanks to Suryakumar’s 22 off 15 balls.

He had hit three of his signature shots by this point in the innings, falling just short of a half-century: a whip behind the wicket off Rabada for six, a swept-four off Harpreet Brar that beat short-fine leg and deep square leg, and an inside-out six off Liam Livingstone over extra cover. Rohit Sharma, on the other hand, was starved of strike after making a quick start and managed just 29 off his 20 balls at the 10-over point.

PBKS’s remarkable return

Keeping up his lead in Shikhar Dhawan’s absence, Sam Curran was aggressive in his bowling variations, making it impossible for the MI hitters to set up a single member of his attack. The captain of PBKS got rid of Rohit, who had only faced 13 balls in the seven overs before the 12th over, by forcing the captain of India to hit to point following a 25-ball 36. Before Tilak Varma hit back-to-back boundaries off Arshdeep Singh, he broke a 22-ball drought. Curran, Rabada, and Hapreet Brar also bowled three overs without a boundary. In order to extend the innings to 15 runs and regain momentum, Suryakumar scored four more runs.

MI’s final blow

Against an older ball that didn’t always come on at the usual rate off the wicket, MI scored 62 runs off the last five overs. Rabada’s fourth over, the 16th of the innings, yielded 18 of those 62 runs, damaging his stats after he had conceded just 25 from his opening three overs. After overturning an LBW call against him in that over, Suryakumar smacked the pacer for four over extra cover and then flipped a full-toss over fine-leg for six. With a pulled six over mid-wicket, Tilak rounded that over.

Following Suryakumar’s dismissal by Curran in the 17th over, Tilak assumed the batsmanship to provide the squad with a final push. After Tim David scored 14 off 7 balls, including two fours and a six off Curran’s final over, he finished undefeated at eighteen balls and thirty-four. David and Romario Shepherd were out of the game after an outstanding last over from Harshal Patel, who bowled slower balls into the wicket. That over yielded just eight runs, and although MI could not reach 200, their 192 was a higher total than any team had at Mullanpur, and it showed.

Bumrah goes crazy

PBKS decided to add big-money signee Rilee Rossouw to their starting lineup in place of the underperforming Jonny Bairstow. In the second innings, Bumrah immediately set the cat among the pigeons, therefore it was a misplaced move. Curran chose to come up to initiate the order, but he witnessed his partner, Prabhsimran Singh, tumbling while trying to take a bounce off Gerald Coetzee, and he was only able to glove the ball to the wicketkeeper.

Rossouw was positioned in the middle after that, and Bumrah delivered an inswinging yorker that completely destroyed his stumps. By using DRS, Bumrah took another wicket when he got the PBKS captain to tickle a leg-stump ball to the keeper. In the thirteenth ball of the innings, Liam Livingstone attempted to pull a quick delivery from Coetzee, but the ball popped back to the bowler, costing PBKS a fourth wicket. After six overs, PBKS was 40/4 and had virtually lost the match.

The panic in MI and the Ashutosh blitz

When Ashutosh joined Shashank Singh in the tenth over and the scoreboard read 77/6, all hope appeared to be lost. Even after the duo scored 34 runs in 3.5 overs, Mumbai Indians appeared to be just one wicket away from winning. Recalled for one of his middle overs, Bumrah struck first with a slower ball that was nasty and Shashank was too early to catch, lofting an easy catch to mid-wicket. But Ashuthosh wasn’t done yet, and he showed what he was about to accomplish with a daring yorker off of Bumrah that was attempted for a six.

Ashutosh finished with seven sixes, five of them in the area between deep square leg and fine-leg, where he was able to deftly handle balls aimed at his body. As a result, MI’s bowlers went into panic mode and packed their legside, but Ashutosh was still able to dismiss the ball with a full throw.

Punjab needed 52 to win with five overs remaining, but Akash Madhwal’s 16th – changed the course of the match. He attempted a round-the-wicket angle to Ashutosh, but the batter found space and lofted a six over long off. Ashutosh was able to take a chance on the subsequent free-hit because it was a no-ball, and he succeeded in hitting another six this time by reverse-scooping over third man. Harpreet Brar finished the over by hitting six consecutive sixes to make it a 24-run over. This simplified the calculation to a relatively manageable 28 off 24.

The conclusion

The difference between MI’s chances and Bumrah’s final over was what mattered. PBKS took just three runs off the expert bowler, therefore they avoided having to take any chances against him. Coetzee was bowled by Hardik Pandya, who was now front-loading his finest bowlers. The biggest blow of the evening was delivered by the South African when he got Ashutosh to smash a deep mid-wicket defender towards the longer side of the stadium. The balance swung back in favour of MI after Ashutosh was dismissed for 61 off 28 balls after Coetzee’s over yielded just two runs. As Hardik entered the field to bowl the 19th over, he conceded just four runs from his opening four deliveries and also removed Brar from the game. However, Kagiso Rabada, the No. 11 player, came out and hit the opening ball for six, leaving PBKS with 12 runs to chase down the last over.

Rabada’s attempts to run two at the beginning of the last over, unfortunately, proved to be fatal as a precise deep ball caught him short, leaving PBKS on the losing end of yet another close game.

From here on, whither do the teams go?

In their final match of the season, Punjab Kings will welcome the Gujarat Titans on Sunday at Mullanpur. The weekend is off for the Mumbai Indians before they travel to Jaipur on Monday to play the reigning champion Rajasthan Royals.

Brief scores: Punjab Kings 183 in 19.1 overs (Ashutosh Kumar 61, Shashank Singh 41; Jasprit Bumrah 3-21, Gerald Coetzee 3-32) lost to Mumbai Indians 192/7 in 20 overs (Suryakumar Yadav 78, Rohit Sharma 36, Harshal Patel 3-31) by 9 runs.