Jos Buttler went on a rampage with a breathtaking 37-ball-77 as Mumbai Indians cantered home by eight wickets against Kings XI Punjab maintaining their pole position in the Indian Premier League, here tonight.
Hashim Amla’s superb 103 enabled Punjab put up a competitive 198 for 4 in 20 overs but Buttler made a mockery of the target with Mumbai Indians knocking off the runs in only 15.3 overs.
If Amla was sublime, Buttler’s power-packed shots were scary as he hit seven fours and five sixes, completely overshadowing the effort from the illustrious South African.
The talented Nitish Rana (62 no off 34 balls) was equally exhilarating as he also sent the Kings XI bowlers on a leatherhunt hitting as many as seven sixes. Buttler-Rana stand got MI 85 runs in less than 8 overs.
Rana got the ‘Purple Cap’ back and finished the match with a six off Mohit Sharma.
Mumbai now have 10 points from six games having won five matches in a row while KXIP slumped to their fourth defeat.
Chasing a near 200-target needed a mandatory good start and Jos Buttler was finally up for it as he punished the two ’Sharmas’ —— Ishant and Sandeep with equal disdain.
The pint-sized Parthiv Patel also matched him stroke for stroke as they basically finished the contest in the Powerplay overs itself adding 81 runs.
Parthiv’s contribution was 37 off 18 balls, hitting four boundaries and two sixes.
Both the batsmen matched each other stroke for stroke as the 50 came up in the fourth over itself.
If Sandeep with his military medium pace was getting tonked by Buttler for bowling fuller deliveries, Parthiv was seen using Ishant’s bounce whipping him for a six behind square.
Buttler was seen muscling Sandeep ovr extra cover as Glenn Maxwell had no answer to this onslaught.
Finally, Marcus Stoinis bowled a slower one as Parthiv mistimed it to Maxwell standing at the circle at mid—off pouched an easy catch.
Earlier Amla’s classy hundred powered Kings XI Punjab to a competitive 198/4 after being put into bat first.
Playing shots that would delight the purists, Amla spanked all the Mumbai Indians bowlers en route his unbeaten 104 off 60 balls, which included as many as six sixes apart from eight boundaries.
In fact five of the half dozen sixes were hit off Sri Lankan slinger Lasith Malinga (0/58 in 4 overs).
There were straight hits, shirt arm jabs over long-on, slashes over point, hook, and a majestic pull—shot in ’Nataraja style’, which brought up his first hundred in shortest format as well second of this edition.
Skipper Glenn Maxwell, on his part played a typically breezy innings smashing 40 off 18 balls with the help of four boundaries and three sixes.
It was the 3rd wicket partnership between Amla and Maxwell that produced 83 runs in only 5.3 overs to send the Mumbai attack in complete disarray.
The last six overs produced an astounding 87 runs after KXIP were 111 for 2 at the end of the 14th over.
It was the 15th over of the innings were Maxwell decided to tee off taking 28 runs off the Mitchell McLenaghan over.
The KXIP skipper hit the hapless New Zealand international for three sixes and two fours as he got the required momentum.
The very next over from Malinga saw Amla punce on him taking 22 off that over and suddenly 50 runs came off two overs.
While Jasprit Bumrah cleaned up Maxwell but Amla was well set by then as he showed one and all that a century in shortest format could be scored playing all the proper cricketing shots. There were drives on the up, cut shots and also lofted shot in—front of the square as well as behind the square.
The true nature of the pitch also helped Amla, who infact enjoyed Malinga’s back of the length deliveries.
It was baffling as senior pro Harbhajan Singh, who gave away only 12 runs in 2 overs, didn’t get to finish his quota of overs.