With the reigning champions beating Punjab Kings by six wickets in an IPL match on Tuesday, Hardik Pandya finally showed glimpses of his destructive nature, putting Mumbai Indians back in play-off contention. Hardik Pandya hit two fours and a six in Mohammed Shami’s penultimate over, and his 40 not out off 30 balls helped MI end a three-match losing streak by chasing down a total of 136 in 19 overs. Saurabh Tiwary (45 off 37) and Kieron Pollard (15 not out) also contributed as MI overcame some apprehensions to finish on a high note.
Pollard, who claimed two wickets in Punjab’s innings, struck a six and four off Arshdeep Singh, a young left-armer who took 13 off the 18th over, allowing Hardik to go for the kill against Shami.
It didn’t hurt that his final shot, which resulted in a maximum, was a regulation catch by Deepak Hooda at the fence.
MI moved up to fifth place with 10 points from 11 games after this win, while Punjab dropped to sixth place. Leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi, defending the target, dismissed Rohit Sharma (8) and Suryakumar Yadav (0) in consecutive deliveries, leaving MI at 16 for two.
In the powerplay, Tiwary and Quinton de Kock (27) led the team to a score of 30 for 2.
Tiwary relieved the pressure with a boundary near the cover-point area, then picked up four more from Nathan Ellis.
After being dropped at the boundary line by Aiden Markram in the eighth over, Tiwary glided down the wicket and deposited Harpreet over mid-wicket for a maximum to take the score to 50.
De Kock, who had been in fine form, lost his bearing in the 10th over when he dragged one on to his stumps after tugging Mohammed Shami for a four, and MI were reduced to 62 for three.
MI stayed in the hunt thanks to Tiwary and Hardik Pandya, but runs dried up when Arshdeep Singh took over the tempo, and Harpreet dropped the India allrounder to add to his anguish.
Tiwary clobbered Bishnoi over mid-wicket for 52 off 36, but he was quickly dismissed by Nathan Ellis.
Hardik then hit Shami for a four and a six in two balls to keep MI in the game.
Pollard smashed one across extra cover and then landed the next one over long-off with 29 needed in the last three overs. Hardik then went on a tear in Shami’s 19th over, sending a wide delivery across the boundary, pulling one across midwicket, and slamming one over long-on to put the game to bed.
After being down to 48 for 4 in 7.3 overs, Markram and Deepak Hooda (28) put on a 61-run partnership to raise their score.
Punjab, on the other hand, were unable to hit a single boundary after the South African returned to the hut in the 16th over, managing only 23 runs in the final four overs.
Pollard (2/8) and Bumrah (2/24) were the standout bowlers, but Krunal Pandya (1/24), Rahul Chahar (1/27), and Nathan Coulter-Nile (0/19) provided solid support.
Mandeep Singh (15) had been the first to go after Krunal Pandya delivered the opening blow.
Chris Gayle was then removed by Pollard. After the batsman pushed a short of length delivery straight to Bumrah at short fine leg, Pollard picked up Rahul for his 300th T20 wicket.
As Punjab slid to 48 for four in the eighth over, Bumrah produced his trademark dipping yorker to trap Nicholas Pooran in front of wicket.
Markram and Hooda then kept the scoreboard ticking over, picking up Chahar singles and a few boundaries to help Punjab reach 90 for 4 in 14 overs.
Punjab never got going in the death overs, as newcomer Harpreet Brar struggled to deal with the variations of Bumrah and Coulter-Nile.