Smashing 129 runs in the second half of the innings proved to be the clincher for Mumbai Indians as Rohit Sharma and Co registered a comprehensive 48-run win against Kings XI Punjab in the 13th match of the 13th edition of Indian Premier League on Thursday in Abu Dhabi.

Rohit’s elegance mingled with the belligerence of his two six-hitting lieutenants helped MI put KXIP’s bowling to sword as they went top of the table on Net Run Rate with four points from four matches.

KXIP vs MI as it happened: MI register easy 48-run win as key batsmen, spinners step up

Invited to bat, the classy Rohit laid the foundation with a 45-ball 70, lacing his innings with eight fours and three sixes.

Then, the duo of Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya smashed fours and sixes at will, scoring 67 runs in 23 balls to lift MI to 191/1 from 83/1 in the 14th over.

For the second successive match, Mumbai batsmen scored 89 runs in the last over.

MI’s finish:

Last 10 overs: 129 runs
Last 5 overs: 89 runs
Last 3 overs: 62 runs

Chasing a stiff target of 192, Kings XI Punjab were stopped at 143/8, with Nicholas Pooran making 44 off 27 balls. Jasprit Bumrah, Rahul Chahar and Krunal Pandya picked up two wickets each.

Earlier, Pollard walked out unbeaten after a 20-ball 47, while Hardik remained not out on 30 off 11 balls, the two hitting six sixes and as many fours between them.

MI got 25 runs in the final over with Pollard sending Krishnappa Gowtham’s last three balls into the stands of the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, scored 19 off the penultimate over and 18 in the 18th.

A total of 104 runs came in the last 36 balls despite one excellent over in between by Mohammed Shami.

MI were 87/3 at the end of the 14th over but upped the ante with Pollard and Rohit hitting a six each off leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi to collect 15 runs from the 15th over.

Rohit scored 22 runs off the 16th over bowled by James Neesham.

It was then left to the pair of Pollard and Hardik to launch a brutal onslaught.

The start was inauspicious for the defending champions as Sheldon Cottrell castled Quinton de Kock with late swing. Smashed for five sixes in an over in his previous outing, it was a new day, new game for Cottrell, as he started with a wicket maiden.

Rohit, then, reached 5000 IPL runs with a glorious cover drive off his first ball of the innings, joining Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina in the club.

Three balls later, Rohit punched one along the ground through the cover-point region for another boundary.

Shami came back to hit the pads and forced the umpire to raise his finger with a vociferous appeal. However, the decision was turned down after a review as the ball seemed to be going down the leg-stump.

Leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi was introduced into the attack in the fourth over and while Shami could not strike with the ball first up, the India pacer ran out Suryakumar Yadav with a direct hit from short fine leg to leave MI at 21/2 in the fourth over.

Rohit gave himself some room and played Gowtham between mid-off and extra cover and cut the next ball through the point region for another fine boundary. Having reached 14 off 21 balls, Ishan Kishan lofted Bishnoi for a massive six over deep mid-wicket to break the shackles. But Kishan soon got out to pave the way for Pollard’s entry.

In reply, KXIP lost wickets at regular intervals to lose their second match on the trot. They were never in the game after losing the wickets of the in-form opening duo of skipper KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal, even though Pooran played a few handsome shots.

Both Chahar and Pandya got the ball to grip and turn on the surface while Bumrah looked close to his best after a poor outing in the previous match. James Pattinson and Trent Boult chipped in with a wicket each as well in a complete bowling performance.

(With PTI inputs)

Video courtesy