Mumbai: The Indian Premier League (IPL) match between Mumbai Indians (MI) and Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) saw as many as half-a-dozen twists and turns, but arguably the biggest of them all came in the 10th over of the match when a 6-feet-2-inch tall Kiwi jumped like a Kangaroo to dismiss a Caribbean batsman who was batting at his destructive best.
Yes, we are talking about the breathtaking catch taken by KXIP fielder Martin Guptill to dismiss MI batsman Lendl Simmons, who was living dangerously at 59 runs off 31 deliveries before getting out on the next ball, bowled by Punjab captain Glenn Maxwell.
Simmons had converted a fuller-length delivery into a full-toss by stepping around two feet out of his crease, to hit the ball over the rope. But unfortunately, Guptill activated the virtual spring of his legs to jump around three-feet above the ground and grab a stunning one-handed catch.
The catch turned the match around in KXIP’s favour as when Simmons got out, Mumbai was on the charge with 106 runs on the board off only 9.3 overs, but his dismissal caused a draught of runs for next two and a half overs. MI batsmen, including skipper Rohit Sharma and Nitish Rana, could only add 15 runs off the next 19 deliveries that consequently turned out to be the pivotal difference between the two teams in Punjab’s seven-run win.
Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya, however, played some blitzing innings to reconstruct the lost momentum only to fall seven runs short of the humongous 230 runs total piled up by KXIP batsmen, including Wriddhiman Saha, Maxwell, Guptill and Shaun Marsh.
There were a few more moments in the match that overturned the proceedings.
Mumbai Indians’ spinners, Harbhajan Singh (0/45, 3 overs) and Karn Sharma (1/32, 3 overs), leaked 77 runs in their six overs for just one wicket together, which was way more than what Punjab’s spinners conceded. Axar Patel (1/28, 3 overs), Glenn Maxwell (1/8, 2 overs) and Rahul Tewatia (1/17, 2 overs) together bowled seven overs and took three wickets for only 53 runs. This created a major difference between the two sides.
After MI was restored to 121/4 in 12.4 overs, Pandya and Pollard handled the proceedings aggressively and went on to smash Matt Henry for 27 runs in the 16th over of the inning to come back strongly in the match. It was another turnaround in the thriller.
Wriddhiman Saha took a sharp catch on the first ball of the 17th over to dismiss a very flamboyant Pandya to bring KXIP back in the contest.
Karn Sharma was looking in a destructive mood as he scored 19 runs off 6 balls with 3 fours and a six. The only six he smashed was because of a simple dropped catch by Maxwell at the boundary line. The captain was so nervous that he let the ball pop out of his hand and land safely over the rope.
In the final over of the inning, superbly bowled by Mohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard refused to take a single when MI needed 9 runs to win off 4 deliveries. He later went on to miss two more deliveries before finally completing his half-century on the last ball of the match. This resulted in a 7-run defeat for Mumbai Indians.
This was MI’s fourth defeat this season out of the 13 matches played so far, while the victory for Punjab has not only kept them in contention for the playoffs but would surely have boosted their confidence before going into their last match of the league stage against an upbeat Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) on May 14.
Well, it surely was a gem of a match and we hope to watch many more of this kind in future.