Nothing went right for Kings XI after they lost the all-important toss and were asked to bat on a wicket which had plenty of moisture. His call proved a masterstroke as Pune bowlers dismissed the visitors for 73 runs inside the 16th over.
Virender Sehwag blasted Kings XI Punjab's foreign players after they failed to perform in their must-win game against Rising Pune Supergiant, resulting in Punjab's exit from the Indian Premier League 2017.
The Mumbai Indians need not be concerned too much with the loss as they are the only team to have qualified for the playoffs stage, but Rohit Sharma's men will want to bounce back against the Kolkata Knight Riders on Sunday Morning to avoid a third-straight loss ahead of the playoffs and secure themselves a coveted top-two finish.
In reply, Mumbai Indians almost pulled off the highest ever chase in IPL before being restricted to 223 in 20 overs.
Stokes remained wicketless but conceded just 10 runs from three overs. Parthiv Patel (38) and Lendl Simmons (59 off 32 balls) smoted the KXIP bowling en route their 99-run stand in only 8.4 overs.
In case RPS-KXIP match is abandoned, then RPS and KKR will be through and KXIP will be eliminated with 15 points.
It was complete domination by the home team, which first skittled out Punjab for a paltry 73 and then knocked off the runs in only 12 overs.
Just as it looked like Simmons had scored a six at long off Guptill made a sensational one-handed catch, timing his jump to perfection.
Glenn Maxwell took it upon himself to come in and keep the innings rolling, smashing 47 off 21 balls to give his team and excellent platform from which to launch.
The pair blasted 68 for the opening wicket before Guptill (36) skied one from Karn Sharma which Hardik Pandya held well running back from mid-on. His hard hitting ability will make a difference of 15 to 20 runs to the eventual score.
But Mohit Sharma (2-57) kept his head to limit the powerful batsman's angles and keep Kings XI alive. The other batsmen struggled to score runs in front of the Punjab bowlers but Ben Stokes took the responsibility and ensured that he guided the team to dependable score.
Kings XI Punjab have the personnel to beat any team in the IPL; it is now about bringing the A-game, with bat and ball, in their last two matches.
Kings XI Punjab: Glenn Maxwell (Captain), Martin Guptill, Wriddhiman Saha (WK), Shaun Marsh, Darren Sammy, Manan Vohra, Axar Patel, Varun Aaron, Sandeep Sharma, Mohit Sharma, Ishant Sharma, Rahul Tewatia, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, K.C. Cariappa, Matt Henry, Anureet Singh, Armaan Jaffer, Marcus Stoinis, Swapnil Singh, Rinku Singh, Nikhil Naik, T. Natarajan, Pardeep Sahu.