Defending champions Mumbai Indians beat Kings XI Punjab by 6 wickets to keep their slim hopes of a playoff berth alive. Krunal Pandya starred with the bat, playing a quickfire knock to help Mumbai win the do-or-die clash.

Set 175 to win in the crucial game, the reigning champions were of to a decent start. Suryakumar Yadav and Evin Lewis added 38 runs for the first wicket before the latter was sent back by Mujeeb Ur Rahman. The runs, however, were not coming at a good pace for the visitors. Both Suryakumar and Ishan Kishan struggled to bat freely and as a result Mumbai were 67 for 1 at the halfway stage.

The hosts then dismissed both the batsmen in quick succession to reduce Mumbai to 100 for 3. At the end of the 15th over, the score was 118 for 3 with Rohit Sharma and Hardik Pandya in the middle. Pandya played some big shots to ease off the pressure but could not last long. Andrew Tye castled him for 23 to put more pressure on the visitors. However, Rohit and Krunal Pandya took the attack to the opposition from thereon to revive the chase. In the 18th over, the duo collected 20 runs to bring the equation down to 16 off 2 overs. The duo went on to take the team in the very following over. Pandya scored 31 off just 12 while Rohit scored 24 off 15 balls.

Earlier in the game, Chris Gayle’s third fifty of the season propelled Kings XI Punjab to a challenging 174 for 6.

Put in to bat first, the Kings XI were off to a good start. KL Rahul and Chris Gayle could only collect 17 off the first three overs before the latter hit Hardik Pandya for four consecutive boundaries in the fourth over to provide the innings the early impetus. At the end of the powerplay, the hosts were 49 for no loss.

But the stand could not last long as Rahul departed in the very first over after the powerplay. Mumbai’s latest spin sensation Mayank Markande accounted for Rahul to provide his team the much-needed first breakthrough. Rahul scored 24 off 20 including a four and a couple of sixes.

Rahul’s departure helped Mumbai to stem the flow of runs. Mumbai’s cause was also helped by Yuvraj Singh’s struggle. The veteran batsman was struggling to get going while Gayle was also batting uncharacteristically. As a result, the scoreboard was reading a modest 78 for 1 at the halfway stage. Gayle soon completed his third fifty of this season but could not convert it into a big score. Ben Cutting dismissed him for exactly to reduce Punjab to 88 for 2.

The visitors then took command of the proceedings after Yuvraj was run out for 14, leaving his side reeling at 96 for 3. Karun Nair and Axar Patel then steadied the ship by adding 36 runs before Mitchell McClenaghan broke the stand by dismissing  Nair for 23. Towards the end, Marcus Stoinis and Mayank Agarwal then played handy knocks to guide Kings XI to a good total.

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