If it was Hashim Amla who delighted with his maiden T20 century in the first half of the game, it was Jos Buttler’s 37-ball blitzkrieg that set the stadium alight in the latter half of the Kings XI Punjab vs Mumbai Indians encounter. The MI opener dismissed Sandeep Sharma over mid-wicket to show intent in the first over. There was no looking back from there on for the Mumbai Indians as their opener clobbered the KXIP attack along with his partner Parthiv Patel.
Buttler’s effortless batting ensured MI attained the 199-run target with ease. Reflecting on his performance, the opener said, “I had a fantastic time batting (here). I have found good form so far in the tournament, but hadn’t really kicked on and made a big contribution.So (I’m) delighted today to really go on and make that good score. It was a fantastic wicket, a small ground and so I’m delighted to go on. It was great fun out there.”
Elaborating on the methods he used in the run-chase, Buttler said, “It was very close actually to my natural way of batting. It is nice actually when the opposition scores big; (then) you know you have only one way to take the game on. Today from the outset I was really looking to play my shots and kick on so that’s a very natural way of batting - see ball, hit ball.”
While it was the middle-order that had made vital contributions in MI’s wins so far in the tournament, on Thursday the Buttler-Parthiv pair put up MI’s highest opening stand of the season – 81 runs – to snatch the game from the hosts.
“Yes! It’s a relief (that the opening has come good). Whenever you open the innings you obviously want to get off to fantastic starts and that really sets the tone for rest of the innings. The big job for the openers is to set the platform for rest of the guys to come in.”
Speaking about his partnership with Parthiv, he said, “We both played our natural games. We complement each other well. He is a short left-hander, he looks to sit back and play square of the wicket and complements me with a different style at the other end. It is great fun to bat with a very calm guy. It is great that we managed to put a big partnership.”
MI had anticipated a high-scoring contest, as Bowling Coach Shane Bond had mentioned in the pre-match press conference. But how much did the team believe they could chase 199? “The wicket was a fantastic wicket. We knew that 200 was very much within our reach. And I think even when things were going, that is the ball was going past (the fielders) when we were bowling, we were actually staying calm because we knew that we can do that to the opposition with the bat as well,” Buttler explained.
With the tournament approaching the middle phase, net run rate would be a factor that teams would keep an eye on and the resounding eight-wicket win with 27 balls to spare certainly helped in boosting MI’s NRR.
Speaking about the team’s approach, Buttler concluded, “After the start that we got, we obviously got to a manageable task to score from there on;we probably needed eight runs per over for (the remaining) 14 or 15 overs.We knew that we could keep going because we had lots of batters to come.So we thought (the) run rate does come into it at some point in the tournament,and tonight (for us) to really kick on and try and win the game in less than 20 overs was really important.”