Stand-in skipper Kieron Pollard came up with a 31-ball 83 to take Mumbai Indians to a three-wicket victory in Wednesday’s IPL 2019 match against Kings XI Punjab at the Wankhede. Chasing 198 for victory, the home team received frequent setbacks, with Mohammed Shami (3/21 in 4 overs) in particular standing out for the visitors. However, Pollard stood tall even as wickets continued falling around him, preferring to deal in giant sixes. His knock had three fours and ten sixes. His wicket in the last over took the match to a nervy last-ball finish, but Alzarri Joseph won the all-important duel against KXIP bowler Ankit Rajpoot off the last ball to take MI home.

With this victory, Mumbai Indians have climbed to third on the IPL 2019 table, with 8 points from six matches. Kings XI Punjab, who remain on 8 points, have played one additional match and are currently fourth on the table.

In the first innings, a 116-run opening stand by Chris Gayle and KL Rahul took MI by storm at the Wankhede on Wednesday. Gayle’s dismissal in the 13th over slowed down the innings but Rahul punished Hardik Pandya by hitting three sixes and a four in the 19th, which yielded them 25 runs. Thirteen came off the final over to boost the total. 

The flamboyant Gayle, who was circumspect initially, struck Australian pacer Jason Behrendorff for three huge sixes and one four to cream off 23 runs to begin the punishing act. 

In the ninth over, Gayle struck two fours and another massive leg-side six as 17 came off Hardik Pandya’s over to take Punjab to 86 without loss. The left-hander also hit leggie Rahul Chahar, and the Pandya brothers Krunal and Hardik for a six each. He reached his 50 in 31 balls and the team’s 100 was raised in 10.2 overs. 

Gayle’s mayhem ended when he was caught at deep mid-wicket off Behrendorff to nip his opening partnership with Rahul. The left-handed Gayle’s departure slowed down the run-rate with Hardik sending back David Miller and Karun Nair cheaply and Bumrah accounting for Sam Curran between the 15th and 18th overs.

Rahul went on the offensive in the last two and in the process completed his century. MI were without captain Rohit Sharma, who was rested as a precautionary measure due to muscle spasm in his right leg.


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