IPL 2024: Mumbai survive Ashutosh Sharma scare to edge Punjab in another T20 cliff-hanger

Five-time champions hold their nerve to claim victory by nine runs in the final over at Chandigarh


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Punjab Kings' Ashutosh Sharma plays a shot during the Indian Premier League against Mumbai Indians. - AFP
Punjab Kings' Ashutosh Sharma plays a shot during the Indian Premier League against Mumbai Indians. - AFP

Published: Thu 18 Apr 2024, 11:53 PM

Mumbai Indians managed to fend off a valiant effort by Punjab Kings batsman Ashutosh Sharma to win by nine runs in a fiercely fought IPL thriller on Thursday in Mullanpur, Chandigarh.

Invited to bat first, Mumbai Indians started off on a decent note. After losing only two wickets in the first 12 overs, Suryakumar Yadav went on to smash an impressive 78 runs off 53 balls to help the team post a solid 192-7.

The second innings began on a disastrous note for the Punjab Kings, with fast bowler Gerald Coetzee and Indian pacer Japsrit Bumrah striking quick to leave them reeling at 14-3 at the end of the second over.

Sharma eventually managed to help rebuild the innings with an explosive 61 runs off 28 balls, aided ably by Shashank Singh (41) and Harpreet Brar (21), but it was ultimately not enough to carry them through the day.

Punjab Kings acting captain Sam Curran said it was "heart-breaking" for his team to take it close and still lose.

"This team loves a close game. Got well to get close, thanks to Ashutosh... Hopefully we can win the close ones and get the momentum," Curran added.

Commenting on the match Mumbai captain Hardik Pandya said: "Very good game. Everyone's nerves got tested.

“We spoke that the characters will be checked in this game. But natural you think you are ahead but you know IPL has a tendency to show that oppositions can come back and how!

(Ashutosh was) unbelievable, playing the way he did and hitting the ball off the middle,” he added. “Great for his future. We did speak in the timeout about it that we will keep fighting and make sure we don't bowl the soft balls."

Mumbai openers Ishan Kishan and Rohit Sharma kicked off the first innings with an 18 run partnership before Kishan, who hit eight runs off eight balls, fell in the third over leaving the team at 18-1.

Sharma, who scored a 25-ball 36, built another partnership with Suryakumar Yadav before falling in the 12th over. Yadav went on to smash 78 runs off 53 balls before being dismissed in the 17th over.

Young Tilak Varma went on to rack up a solid 18-ball 34, with the assistance of cameos from Hardik Pandya (10) and Tim David (14), to help Mumbai wrap up the first innings at 192-7.

The game seemed in the bag in the early portion of the second innings, partly due to sharp bowling by Coetzee and Bumrah, who took three wickets each.

When the glimmer of hope given by Sharma was extinguished, Kagiso Rabada put up a last-ditch attempt with eight runs off three balls but ultimately ended up falling in the last over.

"What a game. We started really well. Cricket's a funny game. We thought we had it, they battled really well. Then it was like a see-saw," said Coetzee.

Brief scores

Mumbai Indians: 192-7 (20.0)

Punjab Kings: 183 all out (19.1)

Mumbai Indians win by 9 runs

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