A stunning 77 of 37 balls from Englishman Jos Buttler helped the Mumbai Indians cruise past the 198 runs amassed by the Kings XI Punjab in the IPL.
The Kings XI would have fancied their chances after a brilliant hundred from Proteas star Hashim Amla (104*) helped them reach an imposing 198/4 in their 20 overs.
Shaun Marsh (26) and Amla got off to a steady if unspectacular start before the Aussie felt off the penultimate ball of the powerplay to Kiwi Mitchell McClenaghan (2/46).
Wriddhiman Saha was promoted to three but struggled to score and departed for 11 off 15 balls when he was castled by Krunal Pandya.
Skipper Glenn Maxwell injected a double dose of impetus into proceedings smashing 40 off just 18 balls before being cleaned up by Jasprit Bumrah to leave the Kings XI 163 for 3.
Amla hit some lusty blows in his innings which defied his stolid reputation including a massive six off Lasith Malinga.
— Cricket365 (@Cricket365) April 20, 2017
The bearded one whacked his way past 100 for the first time in T20 cricket hitting 8 fours and six sixes.
It has been pointed out before that the Kings XI bowling is a liability and it proved to be so once again as Buttler took a liking to the Punjab franchise’s attack.
Parthiv Patel and Buttler got things rolling blasting 81 runs before the former fell off the same ball of the innings as Marsh had with the Mumbai Indians 35 runs to the good.
By the time Buttler fell in the 14th over the game was over as a contest and Nitesh Rana (62*) and Hardik Pandya (15*) would cruise past the victory target with 27 balls to spare registering an eight wicket win and cementing the Mumbai Indians place at the top of the log.
Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma wasn’t required to bat and said after the win: “Incredible game to be part of. Something which reminded me of 2014, when we chsed 190 against Royals in 14 overs.
“To be able to chase this target in 15.3 overs is fantastic. Hashim Amla played one of the finest knocks we would ever see but we finished up really well. When we came back to the change room the talk was that the ground is small and we have the batters to do it.
“That was pretty evident in the first six overs. The way Jos and Parthiv batted at the start was magnificent. That’s the kind of firepower we have. Parthiv is coming off a great domestic season and he’s taken that confidence into IPL.
“That’s the kind of start we required chasing 199. [Concern with the bowlers] Not really. It’s something which we have to look into.
“They are proven match winners and they have done it for years, even in international cricket. That’s there. It’s a lot of pressure, it’s always challenging. It’s just about backing them and the management does that. They will come good”