Magnificent Saha Keep Kings XI Hope Alive

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Magnificent Saha Keep Kings XI Hope Alive

 

Wriddhiman Saha's brilliant unbeaten 93 lifted Kings XI Punjab  to a massive 230/3, but even with that it took spectacular catches by Martin Guptill, Saha, and an excellent last over by Mohit Sharma to eke out a seven-run win over the Mumbai Indians in match 51 of the 2017 Indian Premier league season at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai.

 

The Kings XI skipper Glenn Maxwell decided to move Saha up in the batting order to open the innings. This was a stroke of genius that immediately paid dividends. Guptill and Saha started off at a torrid pace reaching 68 in 5.3 overs until Hardik Pandya backtracked to take a good catch off the bowling of Karn Sharma getting rid of the dangerous Guptill for an 18 ball 36 including five fours and one six.

Maxwell came to the wicket and increased the intensity of the fireworks. The big show blasted five sixes and cracked two boundaries before Jasprit  Bumrah castled him for a 21 ball 47.

The launching platform was already set with the visitors on 131/2 at the end of the eleventh over. Shaun Marsh joined the party smashing two sixes in a 16 ball 25 adding 52 with Saha then top-edged a Mitch McClenaghan delivery and was caught by Parthiv Patel.Axar Patel lifted one six and was not out on 13.

However, Saha was sensational, the diminutive right-hander demonstrated surprising power combined with deft touch and impeccable timing to blast eleven boundaries and three sixes in his amazing innings lifting Kings XI to the highest total this season.

 

Seemingly undaunted by the massive run chase facing them after inserting Kings XI to bat.  Mumbai set off in an equally rapid pace. Lendl Simmons and Parthiv Patel put on 99 in 8.4 overs before Patel on 38 from 23 balls tried to lift a short Mohit Sharma delivery over cover but could not clear Manan Vohra. Five balls later Simmons, smashing balls to all parts of the Wankhede on 59 from just 32 balls containing four sixes and five fours was the victim of an unbelievable catch by Guptill at long on. The shot had six written all over it but the big Kiwi timed his jump to perfection grabbing a stunning one-handed catch.

In order to overhaul such a massive total, the Mumbai top order all had to fire, that did not happen as both Nitish  Rana and Rohit Sharma fell quickly. Despite that Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya built a 55 run stand in less than four overs. As long as they were together Mumbai seemed in with a chance. Saha's brilliance would come to the fore once again. Now clad with wicketkeeping attire he took fantastic catch diving low to his right dismissing Pandya for a 13 ball 30 laced with four sixes. Pollard got some help for Karn Sharma with a six ball 19 including three fours and one six before Mohit uprooted his stumps.

Pollard was facing Mohit in the last over and drove down the ground for two but the umpire signaled one short. The second ball was a slower one which he lofted for his fifth six, but in a match almost totally dominated by batsmen the bowler held his nerve allowing only one more run in the over leaving Pollard not out on fifty.

With this result four teams Kings XI Kolkata Knight Riders  Pune Supergiant and Sunrisers Hyderabad  are fighting for three spots, Mumbai has already clinched a playoff spot

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