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Winless in their five games in the UAE, the Mumbai Indians finally got two points on the board. Playing their first home match of the season, the Rohit Sharma-led side registered a five-wicket win over table-toppers Kings XI Punjab. After conceding 168 runs to KXIP, MI’s chase was fuelled by the late-innings heroics of Kieron Pollard and Aditya Tare, who took their team home with five balls to spare.
Earlier, George Bailey won the toss and decided to bat first at Wankhede Stadium. Cheteshwar Pujara and Virender Sehwag opened the innings for KXIP. However, Sehwag (1) did not last long as he was run-out courtesy a sharp piece of fielding by Rohit Sharma. And while Pujara (19) got off to a decent start, he could not convert it into a big score and fell prey to Corey Anderson in the fourth over. Thanks to the pressure created by these early wickets, MI were able to hold KXIP down to 36 for two at the end of the powerplay. Wriddhiman Saha and Glenn Maxwell then took their team past the 50-run mark in the eighth over.
The duo kept chipping away at the MI bowlers with Maxwell (45) doing bulk of the scoring. The Australian batsman – who is currently perched atop the run-scorers list in Pepsi IPL 2014 – struck five fours and two maximums during his 27-ball stay in the middle. He was, however, dismissed by Harbhajan Singh in the 12th over. Then, Bailey (15) walked in with the scorecard reading 93 for three. He added 37 runs for the fourth wicket, with Saha, before succumbing to Harbhajan Singh.
However, David Miller came in to bat next and ably supported the well-set Saha, who reached his half-century in the 19th over. Zaheer Khan, meanwhile, clutched his shoulder in the same over and had to leave the ground after bowling just three deliveries; Pollard filled in for him for the remainder of the over. However, that did not bode well for MI as he was greeted by a Miller maximum first up as KXIP breached the 160-run mark. But Malinga bowled a great last over in which he conceded only three runs and picked up the wicket of Miller (16). Saha (59*) remained unbeaten along with Mitchell Johnson (0*) to take KXIP to 168 for five after 20 overs.
In response, MI lost Ben Dunk (5) early; Sandeep Sharma had him caught behind in the first over. CM Gautam was then joined by Ambati Rayudu (8), who also did not last long; Sandeep Sharma trapped him leg-before with the scorecard reading 23 for two in 2.5 overs. MI skipper Rohit Sharma was the next man in, and along with Gautam, he took MI to 49 for two at the end of the powerplay. The duo stitched together 46 runs off 41 balls for the third wicket. However, with the score on 70, Rishi Dhawan trapped Gautam (33) leg-before.
Rohit Sharma was then joined by the hard-hitting Corey Anderson. Both batsmen, especially Anderson, began to go after the KXIP bowlers and brought up the team’s 100 in the 13th over of the innings. But the target was still some ways off, and at one point MI required 51 off 30 balls. And just a short while later, when it seemed like Rohit Sharma (39) had set himself up to take his team home, Lakshmipathy Balaji got the better of him. He was replaced by another hard-hitter, Kieron Pollard. However, just three runs later, Dhawan got rid of Anderson (35) to further dent MI’s run-chase.
Pollard and Aditya Tare were then tasked with the responsibility of chasing down a target that seemed to be slipping away from MI with every passing delivery. But the pair did not give in to the pressure, and with the run-chase equation reading 41 off 18 balls, they plundered 16 runs from the 18th over. And then, off the next over, which was bowled by Mitchell Johnson, Pollard – aided by some big hits and the odd stroke of luck – helped plunder 20 runs. The run-chase equation dipped dramatically to five off six balls, and Pollard (28*) knocked the required runs off with a maximum off the very first delivery of the 20th over. Tare (16*), meanwhile, played a crucial supporting role and remained unbeaten as MI won by five wickets.
Man of the Match: Corey Anderson for his all-round performance
Chennai Super Kings registered a thumping 34-run win over Kolkata Knight Riders in Ranchi. The Men in Yellow posted 148 for three – thanks to Brendon McCullum’s 56 – and then restricted KKR to 114 for nine in their rain-affected encounter. Ravindra Jadeja (4-0-12-4) and Mohit Sharma (3-0-22-3) played a crucial role in handing CSK a comprehensive victory.
Earlier, MS Dhoni won the toss and chose to bat first at his home ground. However, there was a delayed start to the game due to rain and the contest was reduced to 17 overs a side. As usual, Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum opened the batting for CSK. And after playing a few big shots, including a maximum, Smith (16) was trapped leg-before by Shakib Al Hasan in the third over. Suresh Raina then walked in, and along with McCullum took their team’s score past the 50-run mark. As the partnership blossomed, both batsmen freed their arms and took the attack to the KKR bowlers, and after 10 overs, the scorecard read 85 for one.
However, Suresh Raina (31) departed soon after; he became Shakib’s second victim. But McCullum (56) continued to be severe on the KKR bowlers and brought up the team 100 in the 12th over. He even brought up his half-century thereafter. Andre Russell finally dismissed him in the 15th over. But some late hitting by Dhoni (22*) and Ravindra Jadeja (17*) took CSK to 148 for three at the end of their 17-over quota.
In response, KKR opened with Robin Uthappa and Gautam Gambhir (6). But the latter got out early yet again; he was run-out in the second over itself with the scorecard reading 18 for one. Uthappa, however, took charge of the innings. He promptly belted any loose deliveries to, and even over, the fence. However, he did not receive much support at the other end as Jacques Kallis (4) got out off the bowling of R Ashwin in the fifth over. And then, Jadeja claimed two wickets in two balls to peg KKR on the back foot; the left-arm spinner first got rid of Manish Pandey (1) and then dismissed Shakib Al Hasan (0) for a golden duck. Thanks to this double-blow, KKR were reduced to 39 for four after six overs.
Uthappa and Suryakumar Yadav (8) then added 27 for the fifth wicket. But Jadeja trapped the Yadav leg-before in his second over. Jadeja even managed to break Uthappa’s (47) resistance, leaving KKR on 88 for six in 13.4 overs. And three runs later, Mohit Sharma cleaned up Andre Russell (1). Meanwhile, Yusuf Pathan was firing on all cylinders at long last. He struck four massive sixes during his 29-ball knock. However, it was too little, too late for KKR as the required run-rate was all but insurmountable. They lost Piyush Chawla (1) and Pathan (39) off back-to-back deliveries by Mohit Sharma in the last over of their innings and ended up with 114 for nine.
In the process, Mohit Sharma picked up his 11th wicket of the tournament and became the reigning Purple Cap holder.
Man of the Match: Ravindra Jadeja for his all-round impact on the game