Defending champions Mumbai Indians finally snapped their losing streak on the back of a collective batting effort as they defeated Kings XI Punjab by five wickets in an Indian Premier League contest on Saturday.
Kieron Pollard smashed Sandeep Sharma for a six over long-off in the first ball of the final over as MI surged past Kings XI score of 168 for 5 by scoring 170 for five.
Pollard remained unconquered on 28 off 12 balls and put on 44 runs in only 15 balls for the unfinished sixth wicket with Aditya Tare (16 off 6 balls) at the Wankhede Stadium.
Prior to their quick-fire partnership, MI were put on the victory path by significant contributions from opener C Gautam (33), skipper Rohit Sharma (39) and Corey Anderson (35).
The dismissal of Sharma and Anderson in successive overs brought Punjab back into the game but Pollard and Tare shattered their hopes.
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It was MI’s first win in six games. It was also their first game at home in this edition and they have now extended their winning run at this venue to nine since the last edition.
It was Punjab’s first defeat after a glorious winning streak of five out of five.
Mumbai’s run-chase started on a none-too-promising note when they lost opener Ben Dunk in the fifth ball of the innings and also Ambati Rayudu to be down 33 for two.
Dunk was caught brilliantly by a diving Wriddhiman Saha behind the wicket off by Sandeep Sharma who also accounted for Rayudu by trapping the batsman in front with a ball that moved in sharply and also kept low.
Chidambaram Gautam, promoted in the order in yet another new opening combination for the title holders, and Rohit Sharma then repaired the innings with a stand of 47.
After the power play, MI were 49 for two and then advanced to 70 for 3 following the exit of Gautam who was dismissed by Rishi Dhawan.
New batsman Anderson smashed a six off Dhawan over long on to make a good start. The left hander from New Zealand, whose highest score has been 39 batting at no. 3 against Chennai Super Kings, then hit left-arm spinner Akshar Patel for three fours and a six in the next – the 13th – to swing the game in MI’s favour. Patel conceded 20 runs in that his last over for expensive figures of 0 for 40.
With the 100 coming up in the 13th over, MI were well on way to their first win in six games. The breezy fourth-wicket partnership between Rohit and Anderson added 53 runs in 35 balls. Sharma was dismissed by Laxmipathy Balaji, caught behind mistiming a flick, to end the stand and left MI with the task of scoring 46 runs in 27 balls.
MI were dealt another blow when the well-set Anderson spooned a drive to long off fielder David Miller off Rishi Dhawan in the next over, leaving Kieron Pollard to win the game for them.
However, it was Tare who gave the impetus as he smashed Balaji for a four and a six over in the 18th over. Pollard then plundered 20 runs in the penultimate over from Mitchell Johnson.
Earlier, Saha cracked his maiden half-century of the season to help Punjab compile a challenging score after they opted to bat first.
Saha started slowly but then gained confidence in the company of the in-form Glenn Maxwell, who slammed a quick-fire 45 in 27 balls, to remain unconquered on 59 in 47 balls.
Saha, who struck 3 sixes and 4 fours, and Maxwell (2 sixes and 5 fours) resurrected the visitors’ innings after the the high-flying Kings XI lost both their openers Virender Sehwag and Cheteshwar Pujara cheaply within the power play after choosing to bat first.
The innings was then propped up by the partnership of 69 in 51 balls between Maxwell and Saha with the former easily outscoring the wicket keeper with some attacking shots.
Maxwell, who came into the game after scoring two 90-plus scores and an innings of 89, started off in his now well known aggressive fashion after taking some time to settle down.
The Tasmanian showed his intent against Malinga by pulling the Sri Lankan bowler’s short ball nonchalantly over the mid-wicket region for his first six. Another boundary enabled Punjab to reach 70 at the end of the 10th over after they were pegged down to 36 for 2 at the end of 6.
Maxwell then picked out Harbhajan Singh for some rough treatment, by stepping out and lofting the off-spinner for his second six over long on.
Saha too slog-swept the wily bowler for a six before Harbhajan Singh exacted revenge by removing Maxwell through a skied catch to long on in the same over, his third, as the batsman tried to clear the rope again.
Saha and Kings XI captain George Bailey then added 37 runs in 24 balls for the fourth wicket before Harbhajan accounted for the latter through a catch at deep square leg to finish with an impressive 2 for 34.
Punjab added 42 runs in the last five overs. Lasith Malinga was once again impressive during his stint of 1 for 25. The other wicket taker was left arm Anderson.