He went for 57 runs off his four overs, but Mohit Sharma held his nerve and delivered when it mattered to keep the Kings XI Punjab alive in the race for the play-offs as they scampered home against the Mumbai Indians by seven runs in a high-scoring thriller at the Wankhede on Thursday.MI needed 16 runs off the last over and looked to be on target when Kieron Pollard (50 not out, 24b, 1×4, 5×6), smashed Mohit’s second ball for a six, but the medium-pacer bounced back brilliantly, bowling three consecutive dot balls to the big West Indian to concede just eight off his final six balls and seal a much-needed seventh win for the Kings in 13 matches, before they travel to Pune to take on Rising Pune Supergiant in their last league game on May 14.MI looked down and out when they slipped to 121 for four in the 13th over while chasing 232 against Kings XI Punjab. No game is over, however, when you have Pollard in your team. Unleashing a flurry of sixes, the big West Indian kept his team alive till the last over of a pulsating chase, which saw the hosts finish at 223 for six in 20 overs.MI were provided an ideal 99-run start in 52 balls for the first wicket by Lendl Simmons (5×4, 4×6) and Parthiv Patel (38, 23b, 7×4), before Parthiv departed. It was spell which saw the hosts lose four wickets for 22 runs as Simons was caught brilliantly by Martin Guptill, who prevented a certain six with a superbly-timed jump.A whirlwind fifth-wicket 55-run partnership in just 21 balls between Pollard between Pollard and Hardik Pandya (30, 11b, 4×6), during which they smashed four sixes off seamer Matt Henry in the 16th over, however, brought MI right back into the contest. Asked open the innings by the Kings in their second-consecutive must-win game, Wriddhiman Saha fully justified the decision and blasted an unbeaten 93 (55b, 11×4, 3×6) to inspire his fired-up team to a formidable 230 for three.
Put in, the visitors received a brilliant 68-run start in merely 33 balls from Saha and Martin Guptill (36, 18b, 5×4, 1×6). Saha-Guptill duo got stuck into Lasith Malinga, taking the Lankan ace for 19 runs off his first six balls on the night. Guptill smashed him for a six, before Saha dispatched him over cover and then scooped a four to long leg to bring up the fifty in just 22 balls.The onslaught continued after Guptill was gone, as skipper Glenn Maxwell (47, 21b, 2×4, 5×6) chose to give the kitchen sink to Harbhajan Singh, smashing the veteran off-spinner for three sixes in the ninth over. Smashing his two other sixes off leggie Karn Sharma in a cameo which reminded one of the way he batted when he was at his best during the 2014 IPL, Maxwell added 63 in 33 balls with Saha before he was castled while trying to make room and cut Bumrah.
Displaying his slogging powers, Saha then added 52 for the third wicket in 26 balls with Shaun Marsh (25, 16b, 2×6), before finishing off the innings with an unbeaten 47-run stand for the fourth wicket with Axar Patel (19, 13b, 1×6), who provided the icing of the Kings’ cake with a last-ball six off Pandya.
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