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Recent Match Report – Punjab Kings vs Mumbai 23rd Match 2022

Punjab Kings 198 for 5 (Dhawan 70, Agarwal 52, Jitesh 30*, Thampi 2-47) beat Mumbai Indians 186 for 9 (Brevis 49, Suryakumar 43, Varma 43, Smith 4-30, Rabada 2-29) by 12 runs

Having strengthened their bowling at the cost of batting depth, Mumbai Indians twice committed the cardinal sin of T20 – losing wickets to run-outs – and ran out of hitting power in a tense chase of 199. In a high-scoring match full of sparkling boundaries, Punjab Kings prevailed by the margin of 12 runs – two sixes – to pick up their third win in five games.

Mumbai did a lot right in the match including winning the toss, and two of their young batters, Dewald Brevis and Tilak Varma, gave the match its most dizzying passage of play when they put on 84 off 41 balls, but none of it mattered as far as the result went. They remain winless after five matches.

Agarwal and Dhawan set things up

Mayank Agarwal came into this game having made three successive single-digit scores, each of them the result of early aggression not quite coming off. That run of low scores didn’t change his approach, as he provided the early ammunition for PBKS to charge to 65 for 0 after six overs – the fourth-highest powerplay total of the season and the highest in Pune.

Agarwal’s most concentrated burst of hitting came in the fifth over, when he went 4, 4, 6 against the legspinner M Ashwin. The six was particularly impressive both for intent and execution – he stretched out and wasn’t quite to the pitch of the ball, which was also turning away from his hitting arc, but he went through with the shot anyway and cleared the fielder at long-off.

He tried a similar shot in the 10th over off the same bowler, but miscued it to bring an opening partnership of 97 to its end. Shikhar Dhawan wasn’t necessarily less attacking during that stand, but Mumbai’s bowlers found him a little easier to tie down by denying him room, even though the best shot of his innings – a ramp over the keeper off Jasprit Bumrah – came when he had next to no room.

Mumbai pull things back

The ball before Agarwal’s dismissal, ESPNcricinfo’s forecaster predicted a PBKS total of 195. By the end of the 17th over, when Dhawan fell for 70 off 50 balls, it had dipped to 182.

Various components of Mumbai’s strengthened bowling attack – they went with five out-and-out bowlers on the day – contributed to this fightback – for instance, having given away 17 in his first over, Ashwin conceded only 17 in his next three – but foremost among them was Bumrah. Mumbai’s spearhead targeted the yorker length right through his four overs, no matter what phase he was bowling in, and generally got it right. On one occasion he got it spectacularly right, bursting through Liam Livingstone to bowl him for 2. He ended the match as the most economical bowler on either side, with figures of 4-0-28-1.

Jitesh and Shahrukh apply the finish

In the end, PBKS exceeded the total that had been forecast before Agarwal’s dismissal. This was thanks primarily to Jitesh Sharma, who clattered Jaydev Unadkat for two sixes and two fours in a 23-run 18th over, on his way to an unbeaten 30 off 15 balls. There was impressive range to his shot-making, which included both a bent-knee drive for six over extra-cover and a shuffling reverse-scoop over short third.

Shahrukh Khan did his bit too, muscling two straight sixes off Basil Thampi in the final over, and PBKS set a target that would severely challenge a truncated Mumbai line-up.

Rohit comes out swinging

Mumbai had only six proper batters and Unadkat slotted at No. 7. This, however, didn’t cause the top order to bat with extra care. Rohit Sharma, facing plenty of questions over his form, set the tone by attempting two lap-sweeps in the first over, off Vaibhav Arora. He edged one for four, and he middled the other for six.

Having taken him to 28 off 16, though, Rohit’s aggression cost him his wicket, when Kagiso Rabada cramped him for room on the pull. Then Arora got the ball to move off the seam and nicked off Ishan Kishan, and Mumbai were 32 for 2 in the fifth over.

Brevis announces himself

Brevis gave off an air of anxiety early in his innings, when he swung hard at Arora and Arshdeep Singh but struggled to middle – and on a couple of occasions even connect with – the ball, which was still quite new and still moving around.

A back-foot cover drive for four off Arshdeep and a slightly hurried pull for six off Odean Smith served everyone a reminder of his precocious talent, but no one could have seen what would come soon after.

When Brevis came on strike for the second ball of the ninth over, Mumbai needed 135 off 71 balls. When that over ended, the equation read 107 off 66. On ESPNcricinfo’s forecaster, Mumbai’s win probability shot up from 13.3% to 48.5%.

Rahul Chahar was at the receiving end as Brevis went 4, 6, 6, 6. The legspinner’s lengths kept changing over those four balls, and his lines too, but Brevis kept hitting him straight or over long-on. His feet took him where he needed to be, and his still head and unfettered, golfer-like bat-swing did the rest – the very qualities that have led cricket watchers all over the world to liken him to AB de Villiers.

With Tilak Varma finding the boundary frequently as well – his two sixes were a scoop-pull over short fine leg and a back-foot slash over backward point – Mumbai were flying to their target, as overs nine, 10 and 11 brought 53 runs. Brevis was even dropped during this phase, but he was caught at deep backward square leg off the very next ball, the last of the 11th, to bring PBKS much-needed relief.

Suryakumar fights, but run-outs sink Mumbai

Mumbai needed 79 off the last 48 balls. That’s a required rate below 10, which typically favours the batting side so long as they don’t lose two quick wickets and expose the lower order. As it happened, they gifted PBKS those two wickets, with Tilak Varma run-out in the 13th over following a mix-up with Suryakumar Yadav, and Kieron Pollard run-out in the 17th when he couldn’t match his partner’s fleetness of foot but still responded to his call for a second run.

In between, Suryakumar and Pollard scored only 19 runs off overs 14, 15 and 16, as PBKS tightened up with the ball, and as Mumbai made what seemed a conscious and forced effort to take the match deep, given the paucity of the batting to follow.

When Pollard was run out, Mumbai needed 47 off 23 balls. Still doable in the normal scheme of things, but they had only one recognised batter in the middle.

Suryakumar kept their hopes alive with successive sixes off Arora in the 17th over, but he could only get on strike for two balls of the 18th over, as Arshdeep conceded just five runs with a mix of stump-to-stump yorkers and wide yorkers. By the end of that over, the left-armer’s death-overs economy rate for the season stood at 4.33

Forced to go after everything now, Suryakumar holed out off Rabada in the 19th over. It left Mumbai needing 22 off the last six, and a pulled six from Unadkat off the first ball gave them their last injection of hope. But Odean Smith, switching to round the wicket, dismissed Unadkat off the third ball, and eventually ended the game with a nine-run, triple-wicket over.

Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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