IPL 2019: Rahul’s unbeaten 71 guides KXIP to win over MI

Mohali: Lokesh Rahul’s laborious unbeaten 71, along with some notable top-order contributions, guided Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) to a comfortable 8-wicket victory over Mumbai Indians (MI) in the Indian Premier League here on Saturday.

Despite putting a fighting total of 176/7, Mumbai bowlers failed to contain the Punjab batsmen as apart from Rahul, Chris Gayle (40 off 24) and Mayank Agarwal (43 off 21) also contributed with the bat to help their side register it’s second win in the tournament.

Chasing the target, openers Rahul and Gayle provided a solid start to Punjab as the hosts raced to the 50-run mark in 6.5 overs. However, Krunal Pandya drew the first blood for Mumbai, dismissing a dangerous looking Gayle in the eight over.

Agarwal and Rahul were then involved in a crucial 64-run second wicket partnership, which set the platform for victory.

Krunal once again gave some relief to the Mumbai camp as he packed back a good looking Agarwal with Punjab’s scorecard reading 117/2 in 13.3 overs.

Despite the two blows, there was no stopping Rahul as he played some sensible cricket in the middle and kept one end covered. The opener added 60 runs with David Miller (15 off 10) in the next 5.1 overs to pull off a comfortable victory for Punjab with eight balls to spare.

Rahul’s knock came off 57 deliveries and was laced with six boundaries and one six.

Earlier, an impressive bowling effort helped Punjab restrict Mumbai at 176/7.

Mohammed Shami, Hardus Viljoen and Andrew Tye scalped two wickets each but leaked runs, while Murugan Ashwin impressed with figures of 2/25 from his four overs.

Mumbai were helped by some valuable contributions from Quinton de Kock (60 off 39) and Hardik Pandya (31 off 19) while skipper Rohit Sharma also chipped in with 32 off 18 balls.

It was the regular jolts by Punjab bowlers which hurt Mumbai’s chances of putting up a huge total.

Asked to bat, openers de Kock and Sharma gave a perfect start to Mumbai, putting 50 runs in the first five overs. However, Viljoen then dealt the first breakthrough by trapping Sharma plumb in front in the sixth over.

Murugan again struck soon to send back new batsman Suryakumar Yadav (11).

de Kock and Yuvraj Singh then anchored Mumbai’s innings with a 58-run partnership before Shami cut short the former’s stay.

With 126 runs on board, Mumbai lost Yuvraj for 18 when the southpaw holed out to Shami off Murugan.

Mumbai then lost Keiron Pollard (7) and Krunal (10) cheaply, but Hardik once again proved his worth by smashing a quickfire 19-ball 31 to help his team post a fighting total.

Brief scores:

Mumbai Indians: Kings XI Punjab 177/2 in 18.4 overs (KL Rahul 71 not out, Mayank Agarwal 43; Krunal Pandya 2/43) beat Mumbai Indians: 176/7 (Quinton de Kock 60, Rohit Sharma 32; Murugan Ashwin 2/25) by 8 wickets.