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Home Sports IPL 2022: Punjab Kings leave Mumbai Indians winless

IPL 2022: Punjab Kings leave Mumbai Indians winless

IPL 2022: Punjab Kings leave Mumbai Indians winless

Synopsis: Punjab’s team effort overshadows Brevis’ spark and Bumrah’s beauty

The Punjab Kings dug-out was ecstatic. Suryakumar Yadav had a knee-high full-toss from Kagiso Rabada at his mercy. Nine times out of 10, Surya would dispatch it into the stands. But he miscued his heave and was caught at long-on. That sealed Mumbai Indians’ fate.

With Surya at the crease, it was still pretty gettable for MI when the penultimate over began. Punjab had scored 198/5 and for their opponents, the equation had come down to 28 off 12 balls. MI eventually ended up scoring 186/9 to lose by 12 runs; five defeats on the spin now.

Punjab’s team effort

Collective effort has been missing from MI’s cricket this season. They are looking heavily reliant on individual brilliance and much to the team’s chagrin, skipper Rohit Sharma is yet to get into his big-scoring groove. They still had a few positives to take from this game, like Jasprit Bumrah’s yorker to Liam Livingstone and Dewald Brevis’ innings. But collectively, Punjab were superior. They won, riding on team effort.

Both their openers, Mayank Agarwal (52) and Shikhar Dhawan (70), scored half-centuries and stitched a 97-run opening partnership in 9.3 overs. Then, MI pulled things back a bit, but Jitesh Sharma’s 30 not out off 15 balls ensured that Punjab still posted an imposing total. Rabada dismissed Rohit at the top and Surya at the death. Odean Smith returned with 4/30. Two horrible mix-ups to lose Kieron Pollard and Tilak Varma made matters worse for MI.

Brevis’ spark

At the first strategic time-out during MI’s innings, Mahela Jayawardene and Sachin Tendulkar were talking to Brevis. The youngster had just destroyed Rahul Chahar with four consecutive sixes – a forgettable start for the leggie against his old franchise – and the message from the team management was ostensibly loud and clear – don’t get carried away.

Against an asking rate of nine-and-a-half runs per over, however, Brevis had to continue hitting and a mistimed pull off Smith found the backward point fielder. The 18-year-old departed for a 25-ball 49. His shots imitated the great AB de Villiers. He even walked and ran between the wickets like his mentor.

The Pune crowd, and millions on telly, got an idea why Brevis is called ‘Baby AB’. On Wednesday, the ‘baby’ broke into the man’s world in style.

Rohit showed intent from the outset. But yet again, the MI captain got out after getting set. Ishan Kishan departed soon after. At 32/2 in the fifth over, the five-time champions were under serious pressure. This was effectively a win-or-bust game for them.

Brevis couldn’t score off the first eight balls he faced. But he looked unfazed. Back-to-back fours against Arshdeep Singh attested his confidence. All the while, even when he was going ballistic against Chahar, Brevis kept it simple – see the ball, hit the ball. “His (De Villiers) advice is to keep it simple, stay with the basics and play my natural game,” the teenager told this paper a couple of months back. He stayed true to his game. MI have unearthed an uncut gem in this IPL, someone who should have a long career across formats.

Bumrah’s beauty

From fairly close to the stumps, Bumrah hurled a missile. The speed gun showed 143kph. Liam Livingstone tried to dig out the yorker, but it was too quick. The ball hit the base of the middle-stump.

Bumrah barely bowls wide yorkers. He fires them in the block hole. It is down to his skill-set and confidence. He knows that when he nails a yorker, it is nigh-on impossible to dig it out. Joel Garner, Curtly Ambrose, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis used to do that in the past, castling batsmen with pinpoint yorkers. Bumrah does it now, getting the better of the batsmen for fun.

Livingstone, a wonderfully talented batsman, had no answer to the ball of the match. Even elite batsmen would have struggled to counter it. In the context of the game, it was a very important wicket for MI. Punjab had things nicely set up for a massive total. A few more overs for Livingstone and it probably would have been completely out of reach for MI. Bumrah’s timely intervention kept the total achievable for his team. Yet again, though, the batting line-up collectively failed to rise to the challenge.

As for Bumrah, it was sort of a redemption for him. He had been a bit off-colour coming into this game. The beginning here, too, was wayward – three successive deliveries down the legside, including two wides. A catch was dropped in his first over, Murugan Ashwin allowing an Agarwal drive to go through his hands at cover-point. Bumrah didn’t get a helping hand from the fielders, so he took the matter into his own hands. Support around him, unfortunately, was inadequate.

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