A blistering century – the first of Pepsi IPL 2014 – by Lendl Simmons saw the Mumbai Indians register a big seven-wicket away win over table-toppers Kings XI Punjab. Chasing a 157-run target, MI were guided by the flamboyant Simmons, whose 61-ball unbeaten knock saw him strike 14 fours and two big hits. As a result of the win, MI now have 10 points from 12 games and are placed fifth on the points table, and more importantly, are still in the race for a Playoffs spot.
Earlier, Rohit Sharma won the toss and asked KXIP to take first strike at Mohali. However, Virender Sehwag (17) gave the hosts a flying start. He helped plunder 23 runs off the first two overs, before getting run-out in the third. Despite the early loss, Manan Vohra continued his good run in Pepsi IPL 2014, and he had Shaun Marsh giving him great company too. Together, the duo took the KXIP score to 48 for one at the end of the powerplay. They added 62 runs off 43 balls as they regularly dispatched the ball to and over the fence. However, their partnership ended when Krishmar Santokie got rid of Marsh (30) in the 10th over.
Capitalising on the slight shift in momentum, Shreyas Gopal then dealt a massive double-blow. The young leggie first cleaned up Vohra (36) and then held on to Glenn Maxwell’s (2) catch off his own bowling in the space of three deliveries. Thanks to Gopal’s exploits, KXIP were suddenly reduced to 93 for four after 11 overs. Even Wriddhiman Saha (3) had to walk back to the dugout soon after; he was run-out in the 15th over. And thanks to these breakthroughs, MI were able to keep a check on the KXIP run-rate as well. And in an attempt to step on the accelerator, Akshar Patel (6) ended up holing out to Rohit Sharma off the bowling of Praveen Kumar.
With the scorecard reading 116 for six in 16.1 overs, Rishi Dhawan (14*) joined forces with George Bailey. Fuelled by the KXIP skipper’s big shots, the seventh-wicket pair added 38 runs off 20 balls. However, Bailey (39) perished off the bowling of Jasprit Bumrah in the last over of the innings. The MI pacer then dismissed Beuran Hendricks (0) a couple of deliveries later as KXIP ended up on 156 for eight in 20 overs.
In response, Lendl Simmons went after the KXIP bowlers from the get go. He did not let the likes of Sandeep Sharma and Hendricks settle down, and kept picking routine boundaries off them. Such was the Trinidadian opener’s dominance that by the time the MI 50 came up – in the fifth over – Michael Hussey, who was holding up the other end, had scored only two runs as opposed to Simmons’ 42. The hard-hitting batter then brought up his half-century off 27 balls as MI posted 62 runs in the powerplay.
KXIP then struck back in the seventh over as Akshar Patel cleaned up Hussey (6). However, Simmons continued to go after the opposition bowlers. By the halfway stage, he helped MI to 96 for one, just 61 runs adrift of the target. And while Ambati Rayudu (17) was dismissed by Rishi Dhawan in the 12th over, Rohit Sharma (18) came in to bat as MI had the target well in their range. But even he departed before MI got over the line; Hendricks claimed his wicket. However, the night belonged to Simmons (100*), who scored the first century of the season, before Kieron Pollard (9*) struck a maximum to hand his side a seven-wicket win with six balls to spare.
Man of the Match: Lendl Simmons for his match-winning century