Indore: Mumbai Indians continued their charge this season by winning their fifth match on the trot to end Kings XI Punjab's hundred percent home record and went to the top of the table with a convincing 8-wicket victory over their rivals.
Set a massive 199 to win the match, the 'Blue Brigade' raced to the target in just 15.3 overs, thanks mainly to an explosive knock of 77 by opener Jos Buttler off just 37 deliveries. The Englishman was ably supported, first by Parthiv Patel (37 of 18 balls), and then by young sensation Nitish Rana (37 of 18 balls), who shared an 85-run stand with Buttler.
The story could have been completely different though had David Miller held on to a straight-forward catch of Buttler when he was batting on 22 in the fourth over. Buttler fiercely hit Ishant Sharma straight to covers where Miller was standing. The South African got his hands up but the force of the ball was such that it hit the fielder on the forehead and ran straight to the boundary ropes.
Buttler and Parthiv made the most of some pedestrian bowling by the Punjab outfit to bring up Mumbai's fifty in just four overs. While Parthiv succumbed to Stoinis' slower delivery with the score on 81 in 5.5 overs, the carnage continued with Buttler and the in-form Rana clearing the boundary with ease.
Buttler reached his half-century in just 24 deliveries in the 9th over while the duo completed their fifty-run partnership in just 29 deliveries at the end of the 10th over.
Hardik Pandya came out next and along with Nitish Rana, got the job done with a massive 27 balls to spare. Nitish Rana was unbeaten on 62 off 34 balls, hitting seven huge sixes during his stay in the middle.
The left-hander also took over the race for the Orange Cap in what has been an unbelievable season for him so far.
Earlier, Kings XI Punjab were put into bat by Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma on a flat Indore track. Opener Hashim Amla got a lucky break in the second over as an uppish drive outside the off-stump off the bowling of Mitchell McClennaghan was almost caught by Nitish Rana at backward point. The youngster got a finger to it but couldn't grab the chance.
Shaun Marsh was opening the batting with Amla for the first time this season and the stylish left-hander announced his intentions with back to back boundaries off Hardik Pandya, who bowled the third over.
Marsh though was sent back after scoring a crisp 26 in the sixth over as the Kings ended the powerplay overs on a sedate 46/1.
Amla got two boundaries away in the next over and brought up his half-century in 34 balls. Saha's dismissal brought captain Glenn Maxwell to the middle and the Aussie did what he does best, hitting the bowlers out of the park.
Maxwell warmed up by hitting two boundaries off the 14th over bowled by Jasprit Bumrah and then unleashed the wrath of his blade on McClenaghan, hitting the Kiwi for three sixes and a four to provide the much needed impetus to Punjab's innings.
It was Hashim Amla's turn in the next over, his style though was different from that of Maxwell. The Proteas opener slammed two sixes and two boundaries in the 16th over bowled by Malinga, as KXIP scored 50 runs of two overs to take their score to 161/2 after 16 overs.
The run-rate was brought under control in the next two overs as Maxwell (40) and Marcus Stoinis (1) departed in quick succession.
Amla though would not be denied, the opener hitting two back to back in the last over to make his way to his maiden T20 century. The Kings finally posting 198/4 in their 20 overs.