IPL 2019: All eyes on bowling crease as Punjab, Mumbai look for controversy-free wins

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Ashwin and Malinga have been involved in the season's biggest flashpoints.

Mankading. Missed no-balls. After events of the first week of IPL 2019, the cameras are going to be trained on the bowling crease line during Saturday’s clash between Kings XI Punjab and Mumbai Indians:

Both teams have benefitted from controversial calls revolving around the few millimeters.

Punjab captain Ravichandran Ashwin’s run-out of Jos Buttler after the Rajasthan Royals batsman had wandered out of his crease at the non-striker’s end sparked worldwide debate, while Mumbai bowler Lasith Malinga overstepped on the final ball of Thursday’s nail-biting win over Royal Challengers Bangalore, only for the umpires to miss it entirely and fail to call a no-ball, provoking a furious reaction from Bangalore captain Virat Kohli.

Mumbai and Punjab now go into this game in Mohali with one win apiece, though in varying form: the Indians enter on the back of having won that thriller against RCB, a morale-boosting result given their difficulty in winning close games last season. Kings XI lost on Wednesday after another Andre Russell special for Kolkata Knight Riders.

Ashwin, especially, will remain under scrutiny, as he followed that Mankad-ing incident with an inexcusable captaincy gaffe against KKR. Russell was four off five when Mohammad Shami delivered a perfect yorker that shattered his stumps, only for the umpires to call a no ball because there weren’t enough fielders inside the circle. The batsman finished with a match-winning 48 off 17.

That masked what was a rare all-round performance from the Punjab batting line-up, as two players not named KL Rahul or Chris Gayle scored half-centuries, with David Miller and Mayank Agarwal finding promising early-season form. But their death bowling needs to improve.

In their win against Royals, Punjab had choked the batting before the death overs began, a sound strategy, but they can’t afford more displays like the one against Kolkata, when Shami and Andrew Tye conceded 55 off the last three overs. They need to work on their bowling combination, having left out off-spinner Mujeeb Ur Rehman and pacer Ankit Rajpoot in that game, which looked liked a bad call when it was made and worse as the KKR innings went on.

Mumbai showed enough in Thursday’s win to indicate that when things click, this is one of the best sides in the IPL. Key players like Rohit Sharma and Suryakumar Yadav have started the season in decent form, Quinton de Kock is not far off, and Yuvraj Singh has surprised everyone with some vintage batting displays.

But Jasprit Bumrah needs some support at the death, and the think-tank needs to ensure Mayank Markande is playing every game – he came into the side on Thursday after missing the opening match against Delhi and picked up 1-23 in his three overs. They don’t have any other classical spinner in the squad, so the youngster’s inclusion adds a mystery element.

LIKELY XI

Kings XI Punjab: Chris Gayle, KL Rahul (wk), Mayank Agarwal, Sarfaraz Khan, David Miller, Mandeep Singh, Ravi Ashwin, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Andrew Tye, Mohammad Shami, Ankit Rajpoot

Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (c), Quinton de Kock (wk), Suryakumar Yadav, Yuvraj Singh, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Hardik Pandya, Mitchell McClenaghan, Mayank Markande, Jasprit Bumrah, Lasith Malinga

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IPL 2019: Jasprit Bumrah inspires Mumbai Indians to win over RCB but controversy reigns

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Jasprit Bumrah [Sportzpics]

Mumbai Indians defeated Royal Challengers Bangalore by six runs in a closely contested match in the 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) that had it all – dropped catches, stacks of runs and a controversial decision in the last ball of the match.

AB de Villiers was the best player for Bangalore as he looked to get the hosts past Mumbai’s opening total of 187 runs. Jasprit Bumrah put the brakes on the galloping South African in the penultimate over to practically seal the win for the visitors.

Controversy took centre stage though as replays showed that Lasith Malinga had clearly over-stepped in the last ball of the last over. The umpire failed to notice it and the ball was allowed as a legal delivery.

If it was adjudged a no-ball, the target of 188 would still have been in mathematical reach for Virat Kohli’s Bangalore.

The hosts named an unchanged eleven, in order to test the previous line-up at a venue with a familiar pitch – one that promised a high-scoring game. Mumbai realised the need to incorporate a specialist bowler ahead of all-rounder Ben Cutting and Malinga made the cut.

Quinton de Kock and Rohit Sharma ensured that Mumbai got off to a blistering start, putting 54 on the board for the first wicket, in just over six overs. Yuzvendra Chahal provided the hosts a much-needed breakthrough after he bowled out the South African.

Sharma fell two runs short off a half-century, after he got the elevation, but not the distance for Umesh Yadav’s short delivery. Mohammed Siraj made no mistake as he caught the ball and sent the opposition captain back to the pavilion.

Yuvraj Singh and Suryakumar Yadav kept the scoreboard ticking steadily, putting on 37 runs for the third wicket, before Chahal provided the breakthrough again by removing the duo. West Iindies star Kieron Pollard and Krunal Pandya were part of Mumbai’s middle-order collapse as the visitors lost four wickets in a span of five runs.

When it looked like Bangalore had resolved their issues with death-over bowling, Hardik Pandya proved to be a party-spoiler, scoring 32 runs from 14 balls and taking the visitors to a respectable total of 187.

Bangalore failed to match Mumbai’s terrific start and lost Moeen Ali very early on in the innings. But Parthiv Patel and Kohli sped up proceedings and took the hosts to 67 in 6.5 overs, before the captain skied Bumrah’s bouncer and was caught out by Pandya.

After that, it was the De Villiers show at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. Mr 360 was dropped on zero by Singh at first slip off Mayank Markande’s delivery. The visitors were left to rue this blunder as they watched the South African send the ball to the stands six times and provide Bangalore a ray of hope in the death overs.

The South African raced to 70 runs of just 41 balls and ensured that the game went to the wire. Unfortunately for the hosts, a fantastic penultimate over from Bumrah turned the match in Mumbai’s favour and left the visitors walking away with two points.

When 17 runs were required from the last over, Mumbai captain Sharma made the obvious choice of handing the ball to Malinga. However, a six in the first ball by Shivam Dube kept the game in the balance, with Bangalore edging close to an unlikely win.

The Sri Lankan did well thereafter to keep it tight and leave the hosts needing seven runs to win from the last ball. This is when controversy kicked in. Dube’s grounded shot found a Mumbai shirt at long off and no runs were taken in the last ball.

Replays showed that Malinga had over-stepped the crease, but the umpire failed to make note of it and refrained from judging it as a no-ball.

As a result of this, Mumbai emerged as winners in a nail-biter, getting the better of Bangalore by the smallest of margins

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IPL 2019 LIVE: Royal Challengers Bangalore meet Mumbai Indians as both sides aim for first win

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Virat Kohli won the toss and elected to bat as his Royal Challengers Bangalore side met Mumbai Indians at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium, with both teams looking for their first victory in the IPL 2019.

“We are gonna have a bowl first,” said the India skipper.

Mumbai Indians started off well, but two crucial spells by Yuzvendra Chahal that initiated Mumbai’s fall of wickets and rattled their middle order shifted the game in the hosts’ favour.

However, Hardik Pandya slogged in the death to take the visitors to a total of 187. The all-rounder scored 32 runs from 14 balls to put on a respectable score for Bangalore to chase.

Parthiv Patel and Moeen Ali provided a good opening for the hosts, but the latter was run out after he hastened between the stumps. After setting off the fireworks, Patel departed to allow AB de Villiers take the crease.

OUT!! Kohli departs after he managed to gain the elevation, but not the distance for Jasprit Bumrah’s bouncer. Hardik Pandya collects it comfortably.

de Villiers unleashed his wrath on the Mumbai bowlers – specifically Hardik Pandya – but a tremendous penultimate over from Bumrah handed the visitors the win in the nail-biter.

Playing XIs

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (c), Parthiv Patel (w), Moeen Ali, AB de Villiers, Shimron Hetmyer, Shivam Dube, Colin de Grandhomme, Navdeep Saini, Yuzvendra Chahal, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj

Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (c), Quinton de Kock (w), Suryakumar Yadav, Yuvraj Singh, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Mitchell McClenaghan, Lasith Malinga, Mayank Markande, Jasprit Bumrah

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