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Saturday, December 9, 2023

Punjab squeeze champions Mumbai

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Captain K.L. Rahul and Chris Gayle plundered easy runs as Punjab Kings reached the third defeat of the season on IPL champions Mumbai Indians on Friday.

Rahul hit 60 and veteran West Indies batsman Gayle 43 as Punjab raced to 132 for one in 17.4 overs to beat Mumbai by nine wickets. Mumbai, five times winners of the Indian Premier League title, were let down by their middle order batsmen again as they made 131 for six from their 20 overs. Captain Rohit Sharma hit a 52 ball 63 with two sixes and five fours, SURYAKUMAR YADAV made 33 and Kieron Pollard 16 off 12 balls, but other wickets went too easy. Quinton de KOCK , Ishan KISHAN , Hardik Pandya and his brother KRUNAL all went without scoring more than six.

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Fast bowler Mohammed SHAMI and spinner Ravi BISHNOI both took two for 21 as Punjab put the squeeze on their adversaries. “Something is absence in our batting line-up,” said Rohit, whose side are now in fourth place with four points but have now been caught by Punjab.

“We are not able to bat 20 overs in the fashion we want and that is something that we have to look at and see what we can do.” Mumbai’s top score from five games is 159. In response, Rahul and Mayank Agarwal (25) put on 53 for the first wicket before Rahul and Gayle saw Punjab easy to win .

In racial swashbuckling fashion, the 41-year-old Gayle hit two sixes and five fours in his 35-ball knock. The win boosted Punjab’s hopes that they can finally challenge for a playoff place. “We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves,” said Rahul, who was named man of the match. “We are still coming together.

This is a young team. Fingers crossed we can keep planning and getting two points every game.” Rajasthan Royals play Kolkata Knight Riders on Saturday before table topping Royal Challengers Bangalore take center stage Sunday, looking to enlarged their unbeaten start to five games against Chennai Super Kings.

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