It wasn’t the kind of homecoming Kings XI Punjab were hoping for. The crowd was there, so were the dhols but the dressing room couldn’t really break into a bhangra as Mumbai Indians shocked both the home crowd and KXIP by seven wickets at the PCA Stadium on Wednesday.
Just ahead of the match, KXIP owner Preity Zinta had even conducted a havan in front of the dressing room, but the ritual didn’t yield the desired result as MI chased down KXIP’s 156 with ease. While the loss wouldn’t have hurt Punjab much, the comprehensive victory would cheer the Mumbai Indians as it breathed life back into their campaign, giving them an outside chance of making it to the play offs.
The PCA Stadium also witnessed the first century of the season with West Indian Lendl Simmons smashing a exhilarating 100 off just 61 balls. The 29-year-old’s knock consisted of 14 boundaries and two massive sixes, both executed via his favourite shot, the slog-sweep.
The opener was assisted ably by Michael Hussey and Ambati Rayudu at the other end. He was involved in 68-run opening wicket stand with Hussey, for now settling Mumbai’s longstanding issues at the top of the order, and 43-run second wicket partnership with Rayudu. Simmons showed his class while batting with captain Rohit Sharma. The duo added 37 together before Sharma was removed by Hendricks for 18. Finally, the Trinidadian walked out of the ground with compatriot Kieron Pollard to the happy faces in the dressing room and dug out that included biggies Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble and Jonty Rhodes.
Earlier KXIP were made to bat first by the Mumbai Indians captain Sharma. The home team had a good start as Virender Sehwag and Manan Vohra got going. Sehwag was batting at his best against Praveen Kumar and Krishmar Santokie with Vohra on the other end. KXIP had made 23 runs in first two overs. However the KXIP’s initial surge was cut short when Sehwag was run out in an unfortunate way in the innings’ third over. Having pushed a Kumar delivery towards mid-on, Sehwag set off for a customary single but unfortunately the ball richocheted off Vohra’s foot straight into the bowler’s hands. And Kumar wasted no time in knocking down the bails to run out the veteran opener.
Sehwag’s dismissal put the brakes on the run rate for a while. Shaun Marsh, playing his first game in this season in place of David Miller joined Vohra and soon lifted the team. Marsh’s flamboyance came to the fore as he played expansive shots in his 17-ball 30 that included two fours and two sixes. The in-form Vohra too cut loose in Marsh’s continued…