But, while Gayle scored 63 in 36 balls, there was little impetus from the other end. Beautifully as KL Rahul played for his fourth half-century of the season, he was on 50 from as many as 41 balls when Gayle fell. Even after that, between overs 13 and 17, Rahul failed to get going as Kings XI added just 30 runs, and two wickets went down.
“Lost our way a bit in the middle,” he admitted to Sanjay Manjrekar on the live broadcast. So much so, that Rahul’s 63-ball century was the joint fourth-slowest in IPL history.
Rahul picked up speed in grand style towards the end, hitting Hardik Pandya for three sixes in the 19th over, in which Kings XI scored 25 runs and took the total up to 197 for 4, but Kings XI might well have stopped around 20 runs behind where they could have been.
Why pick Joseph and not bowl him out?
Joseph walked into IPL 2019, broke an 11-year-old record, and bagged the best bowling figures of all time in the competition. It was good enough to keep Lasith Malinga out of the side the next game.
On Wednesday night, Joseph was up against KL Rahul and Chris Gayle. Gayle only faced three balls off him for two runs, but Rahul brought Joseph back to earth by carting him for 19 off nine balls, including a couple of sixes.
KL Rahul plays to the off side BCCI
Later in the script, Kieron Pollard, leading Mumbai in Rohit Sharma’s absence, chose to back Hardik Pandya to bowl the difficult overs at the death. Hardik, to his credit, had managed to keep Rahul quiet in his first three overs, but got the treatment in the 19th, going for 25 thanks to some huge hits from the Kings XI opener.
Pandya’s first three overs could have tempted Pollard into bowling him out, but Joseph’s extra pace could well have troubled a marauding Rahul at the death. With Behrendorff bowled out and Bumrah coming in from the other end, it was odd to see Mumbai not throwing their third specialist pace bowler into the deep end at the death.
Rohit Sharma not on the field for Mumbai Indians – a rare occurrence indeed
Rohit Sharma hasn’t had the best run in IPL 2019 so far, with scores of 14, 48, 32, 13 and 11. Still, Mumbai want him – he’s their tall leader, scorer of big runs, and lucky mascot – at all times, and it was disappointing for them to miss out on his services for the big game against Kings XI.
It was, amazingly, the first time Rohit had missed a game after 133 consecutive appearances, just one behind Suresh Raina’s record.
The last – and only – time Rohit missed an IPL match was in the inaugural 2008 season, when he was representing Deccan Chargers. That was on May 27 that year, in a game against Chennai Super Kings. Never has he missed a game since moving to Mumbai in 2011. Till today.