Mumbai (Maharashtra): Stand-in skipper Kieron Pollard’s crucial 83 before a match-winning double from Alzarri Joseph helped Mumbai Indians pull off a three-wicket win over Kings XI Punjab here at the Wankhede Stadium on Wednesday.
In a challenging encounter, a Rohit Sharma-less Mumbai struggled in what seemed to be a one-sided match before stand-in skipper Pollard anchored midway through the innings. The West Indies batsman almost took Mumbai home before he miscued the pull shot straight to deep midwicket.
Pollard’s 31-ball 83, including 10 sixes, came to an end, giving Punjab a breather. With two required off the last ball, Alzarri Joseph, unbeaten on 15, pushed the ball down the ground and scampered for double to sneak out an unlikely victory for Mumbai.
Chasing a target of 198, Quinton de Kock and Suryakumar Yadav displayed attacking signs but could not settle in. Mumbai faced a double dent in quick succession as Sam Curran sent Suryakumar (21) back into the hut, while De Kock (24) was dismissed off R Ashwin. Punjab pulled back things as Mohammed Shami stopped the Pandya brothers — Hardik Pandya (19) and Krunal Pandya (1) — but Pollard proved too much for Punjab.
Earlier, put in to bat, swashbuckling Chris Gayle and KL Rahul lifted Punjab to post a solid target of 198 runs on a batting friendly pitch.
Punjab got off to a flying start with the big-hitter Gayle and Rahul slapping 116 for the opening wicket. Jason Behrendorff conceded an expensive fifth over, including three Gayle-storm sixes, to see Punjab going 50 up in powerplay. The unstoppable Jamaican punished Hardik Pandya to go past fifty for the 32nd time in the tournament, this one coming off 31 balls.
Behrendorff broke the threatening stand, getting rid of Gayle (36-ball 63), who swung the ball hard but Krunal Pandya dived forward to take the catch at deep midwicket. Mumbai clawed back in the game for a while, as Hardik struck David Miller (7) and Karun Nair (5) in quick succession.
Although Jasprit Bumrah sent Sam Curran (8) back after conceding two consecutive boundaries, Punjab managed to retrieve its domination. Rahul looted 22 runs, including three sixes, off Hardik in the penultimate over to take his side closer to the 200-run mark.
The right-handed batsman raised his bat to celebrate his much-awaited 63-ball maiden century off Bumrah, recording his highest IPL score along the way. Mandeep Singh hit a boundary to put up 197 for the loss of four.
Mumbai Indians will next play against Rajasthan Royals, whereas Kings XI Punjab will clash with Royal Challengers Bangalore on April 13.
Brief scores: Mumbai Indians 198/7 ((KA Pollard 83, Q de Kock 24, M Shami 3-21) beat Kings XI Punjab 197/4 (KL Rahul 100*, CH Gayle 63, HH Pandya 2-57) by three wickets.