Sloppy Mumbai succumb in big upset
Kings XI Punjab 163 for 8 (Marsh 43, Karthik 31, Munaf 5-21) beat Mumbai Indians 87 (Bhatt 4-22)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
After a glut of predictable snooze-fests, the IPL produced the kind of upset the Twenty20 format is made for, with Kings XI Punjab, placed tenth at the start of the game, producing a strong performance to trounce the table-toppers, Mumbai Indians. Punjab came out determined against Mumbai's gun bowlers - Lasith Malinga and Harbhajan Singh - and scrapped their way towards a solid base, before Munaf Patel's five-for kept them to 163. In reply, Mumbai combusted in a rash of ridiculous shots to concede two points on a platter, keeping Punjab's campaign alive.
It was the kind of score Punjab would have taken at the toss, given how badly out of form their batting had been in recent games. It gave them the rare luxury of something to bowl at, and they responded with purpose and vigour. Aiden Blizzard produced three edgy boundaries in the first over from Praveen Kumar, but things went rapidly downhill from there for Mumbai's batsmen. Sachin Tendulkar guided an innocuous delivery from Praveen straight to backward point in the third over, before Adam Gilchrist pulled off an alert stumping to send Rohit Sharma on his way. When Blizzard was adjudged out nicking a leg-side ball from Praveen in the fifth over, Mumbai had slumped to 27 for 3, and there was no middle-order counter-attack to put them back on track.
Even a couple of dropped chances and a missed run-out did not spark a revival, and the exit of Andrew Symonds, Ambati Rayudu and T Suman in successive overs set up a happy evening for the Mohali faithfuls.
Punjab's defiance was captured earlier in the day, in the way Gilchrist fronted up to Lasith Malinga. The bowler of the tournament screamed in for the second over of Punjab's innings, and delivered it full and wide of off stump. The out-of-form Gilchrist rolled back the years by moving across and slicing it through point. The next ball was hit even more fiercely, but it found the fielder. Buoyed by the confidence of having middled two balls, Gilchrist took guard outside the crease for the next delivery. It was a yorker, followed by a bouncer that clattered Gilchrist on the back of his helmet. He was stunned for a moment and floored for a minute, but he got a new helmet and carried on. Punjab were not going to flinch today.
Paul Valthaty did his bit to kick-start the innings before perishing in Munaf's first over, pulling him straight to deep midwicket. Gilchrist carried on though he was clearly not at his best, struggling to pick Harbhajan's straighter ones, and to adapt to the drop in pace once Malinga exited the attack. Symonds let him off on one of those indiscretions, when Gilchrist drove Dhawal Kulkarni uppishly into the covers. Gilchrist celebrated by launching Rohit Sharma for a straight six, while Shaun Marsh checked in by creaming Kulkarni twice through the off side.
Malinga returned and produced the breakthrough, hurling down another pacy bouncer which Gilchrist feathered behind. Marsh had found his range by then, and seamlessly took charge of the innings along with Dinesh Karthik. Blizzard made things easier for Punjab, dropping Karthik when he top-edged Kieron Pollard. Karthik capitalised by sweeping and reverse-sweeping Suman for successive fours in the 14th over, as Punjab coiled for the final assault. It was the cue for the Munaf show to begin.
Marsh welcomed Munaf to the crease by crashing the first ball of his second spell through the covers, before imparting a violent thump to another half-tracker, to send it sailing along towards the deep midwicket fence. Pollard had his own ideas, though, running at full tilt, diving to his right and intercepting the ball with both hands, to pull off one of the best catches of the tournament. That sparked Mumbai's best phase in the game, as Munaf used clever changes in length and pace to cut through the lower order. He dismissed David Hussey for a duck, before foxing Karthik and Ryan Harris into scooping catches into the outfield. Munaf's efforts had restricted Punjab to just 39 off the last five overs, but Mumbai's spectacular batting collapse meant it counted for nothing.
Nitin Sundar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo