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Punjab hands Mumbai another loss in IPL

Punjab Kings’ opening batters Shikhar Dhawan and Mayank Agarwal smashed half centuries to hand Mumbai Indians its fifth successive loss in the Indian Premier League.

The 18-year-old South African Dewald Brevis hit a blistering 49 off 25 balls on Wednesday but Mumbai lost wickets at crucial moments to lose by 12 runs after it was restricted to 186-9 while chasing Punjab’s imposing total of 198-5.

“It was a good night, very happy to contribute to the team’s win but the crucial thing for us was the two points,” Agarwal said. “I thought this game had a lot of ups and downs, there were a lot of crucial moments and more often than not we were nailing those crucial moments and winning those crucial moments.”

Dhawan and Agarwal provided a rollicking start of 65 runs in the powerplay which was the highest score so far in the first six overs in the games at Pune.

The two batters stretched their stand to 97 before Agarwal, who scored 52, holed out at long-off soon after completing his first fifty this season with six fours and two sixes.

The two Englishmen Jonny Bairstow (12) and Liam Livingstone (2) fell in successive overs with the latter getting clean bowled by Jasprit Bumrah in the 15th over.

Dhawan hit five fours and three sixes in his 70-run knock but was well disguised by Basil Thampi (47-2) in his return spell and spliced a catch at long-on with three overs to go.

But Jitesh Sharma’s quickfire unbeaten 30 off 15 balls lifted Punjab’s total in the death overs that included two sixes and two fours in the 18th over bowled by Jaydev Unadkat.

Mumbai skipper Rohit Sharma (28) and Ishan Kishan (3) both fell within the powerplay before Brevis and Tilak Varma (36) put the chase back on track with some brilliant power-hitting.

Brevis welcomed spinner Rahul Chahar with four successive sixes in the leg-spinner’s first over, which went for 29. But Mumbai lost its way once Brevis offered a tame catch at square leg in the 11th over and then both Varma and Kieron Pollard were run out.

Suryakumar Yadav hit four sixes and a boundary before holing out in the deep off Kagiso Rabada’s full toss delivery in the penultimate over.

With 22 required off the last over, Odean Smith finished off Mumbai’s resistance in the last over with three wickets to finish with 30-4 despite conceding a six off the first delivery when Unadkat smashed the West Indian fast bowler to mid-wicket.

Punjab has six points and jumped to No. 3 in the table on better net run-rate while Mumbai is still looking for its first points.

“We’ve been not playing good cricket for awhile and that’s why we’ve been on the losing side, simple as that,” Mumbai skipper Rohit said. “The Kings batted pretty well up front and put pressure on our bowlers … but I thought 190-plus was chaseable on that pitch because that pitch was really good to bat on as you saw when we were batting as well.”

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