A Super Over in cricket is like a tie-breaker in football. So what happens when the game goes into the second Super Over. Itâ€™s like the sudden death in football, where you keep going till thereâ€™s a winner. Thatâ€™s what happened in IPL 2020 on Sunday. The Kings XI Punjab picked up full points from the game against the Mumbai Indians, after prevailing in the second Super Over.
The Super Over isnâ€™t part of the game. The match ended in a tie. That in itself is exhilarating. More so since Mumbaiâ€™s batting first stumbled against some steady bowling from Punjab, who followed it up with a riveting chase against a classy attack. It was indeed a giant-slaying act.
Punjab deserve full praise, even if they didnâ€™t get the game over the line. True, a basement team in the league table doesnâ€™t have anything lose. And that helps them come out firing all cylinders.
Hereâ€™s where KL Rahul stood out as the leader and a batsman. He seemed to have instilled self-belief among his players as they faced the formidable four-time champions. Rahul marshalled his relatively thin resources so well that once they had Mumbai in a chokehold, Punjab refused to let go. Only some late power hitting by Kieron Pollard (34 runs off 12 balls) and Nathan Coulter-Nile (24 off 12) helped Mumbai to a good total.
The target of 177 was daunting for Punjab, considering its fragile batting and the might of Mumbai bowling. Openers Rahul and Mayank Agarwal have been consistent, but the same cannot be said of the rest, where Nicholas Pooran provides flashes of brilliance and Glenn Maxwell continues his flop show.
Rahul (77 of 51) admirably led the Punjab chase, which followed a familiar script: a good opening partnership followed by a couple of cameos. But the captain had placed Punjab on the road to victory before falling to Jasprit Bumrah, who had a superb game dismissing Agarwal and Pooran. Punjab fluffed the chase and turned a winning game into a tie. Much of the blame should go to Chris Jordanâ€™s poor running off the final ball (He turned around in a wide arc, losing a couple of yards and that resulted in runout and tie).
Had Mumbai won, it would have been a travesty. For Punjab controlled the match so well, despite the efforts of Quinton de Kock (53 off 43) and Krunal Pandya (34 off 30) for Mumbai.
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The Super Over is anybodyâ€™s game. The choice of batsmen and bowlers can be debated endlessly, but itâ€™s still a tie-breaker. Mohammed Shami expertly defended 6 runs against the Mumbai pair of Rohit Sharma and De Kock in the first Super Over. Agarwalâ€™s leaping save on the boundary in the second Super Over swung it Punjabâ€™s way. And Chris Gayleâ€™s first ball six sealed it. Justice prevailed.
Punjab deserved to win the game for their tenacity and excellent cricket.