After a series of poor performances in the Indian Premier League (IPL) this season, defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) found their way back to the winning ways after a clinical performance against the struggling Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) stadium in Mohali on 25 April.
After posting 189/6, a disciplined bowling performance by Rohit Sharma's men restricted Punjab to 164/7 and ensured a 25-run win in hostile territory. Jasprit Bumrah (3-26) was the pick of the bowlers, while Parthiv Patel (81) turned out to be the top scorer for Mumbai.
Requiring more than nine runs an over, the Preity Zinta co-owned team got off to a poor start after losing both their openers Murali Vijay (19) and Manan Vohra (7) for just 32 runs. Tim Southee (2-28) got Vijay caught inside the 30-yard circle, while Bumrah forced Vohra to lob a simple catch to Jos Buttler.
Punjab's run-chase found the much-needed support from the 89-run stand between Shaun Marsh (45) and Glenn Maxwell (56). The duo ran hard between the wickets to steal crucial singles, apart from picking up the occasional boundary.
Their partnership was finally broken at a pivotal moment in the game when Southee came back into the attack to get rid of Marsh in the 15th over. The onus was, once again, on captain David Miller (30*) and Maxwell who've drawn flak for their dismal form in the IPL this season.
Amidst mounting pressure and heavy criticism, Maxwell played a responsible innings and did what the experts had previously advised him - play out a few deliveries before going for the expansive shots. He notched up a morale-boosting half-century in 33 balls alongside five fours and a six.
But, the Australian couldn't get his side over the line. Maxwell dragged Bumrah's slower delivery back onto the stumps on the first ball of the 18th over as Punjab lost their fourth wicket and more importantly, a well-set batsmen.
Miller tried to hold fort for the home side but the wickets kept tumbling at the other end. Mitchell McClenaghan (2-32) and Bumrah bowled the last four overs for Mumbai and conceded just 31 runs while picking up four wickets to contain the opposition.
Earlier, Sandeep Sharma justified his skipper's decision to put the opposition in, dismissing Mumbai's leading scorer Rohit on the second ball of the match. After an early wicket, the visitors took their time to settle in as they scored just 25 runs in the first five overs.
Parthiv, who has been struggling to score runs for Mumbai this year, capitalised on the fortunes that came his way to score a crucial knock for his side. The left-hander, who scored just 73 runs in his last five innings, was batting on 15 when he was caught in the deep off Mitchell Johnson who had over-stepped in his bowling stride.
He sent the next ball - a free hit - straight into the hands of David Miller at midwicket. In the 10th over, he survived a close stumping chance at a score of 32. And if that wasn't enough, Parthiv was, thereafter, dropped by Mohit Sharma at mid-off on 66.
Riding on his luck, Parthiv notched up his highest score in the IPL - 81 off 58 balls - and also registered a 137-run partnership, the highest for Mumbai this season, with Ambati Rayudu (65) that propelled the visitors to a compelling total.
Rayudu, who continued to impress with the bat, had a slice of luck of his own when he was dropped by Axar Patel at a score of 33 runs. The right-handed batsman punished the opposition bowlers, smashing four fours and four sixes in his knock off 37 balls.
Mohit Sharma was the star-performer with the ball for Punjab following his spell of 3-38 in four overs. Sandeep also bowled an economical spell of 1-20 in his four overs. All the other bowlers - Johnson (1-43), Axar (1-41), Pardeep Sahu (0-35) and Maxwell (0-11) - proved a tad too expensive for Punjab, conceding over 10 runs an over.
Today's victory has propelled Mumbai to the fifth spot in the IPL points table following three wins and four losses in seven matches. On the other hand, the sordid saga for Punjab continues as they slump to the last spot with five losses and just one win in six games.