Disciplined bowling followed by well-executed run chase, piloted by Lendl Simmons’s unbeaten 100 helped Mumbai Indians post a seven-wicket win over table toppers Kings XI Punjab in Punjab on Wednesday night and keep alive their chances of making the playoffs.
After choosing to bowl so that they did not have to face the wrath of Glenn Maxwell & Co., Mumbai Indians contained Kings XI Punjab to 156/8 with none scoring a half-century and three batsmen falling in the 30s.
It was Trinidadian opener Lendl Simmons who held the key to Mumbai Indians’ run chase, giving the visitors a bright start. His opening partner Michael Hussey was happy to play the second fiddle and see Simmons go after the KXIP opening bowlers Sandeep Sharma and South African Beuran Hendricks. Mumbai Indians reached 50 in just the fifth over with Simmons on 41 and Hussey just two from five deliveries.
Hussey fell for six, bowled by left-arm spinner Akshar Patel, but after MI raced to 68 in 7 overs, Simmons’ contribution in the opening stand being 55. It was some clean hitting at its best. They need not necessarily come only in sixes. As Simmons showed, finding the gaps and going along the ground were equally effective way of quick scoring. His knock came from 61 balls with 14 fours and two sixes.
Simmons could not have chosen a better time to score the first century of the tournament and his form in the next two games, both in Mumbai against Delhi Daredevils on May 23 and Rajasthan Royals on May 25 is crucial for Rohit & Co making the playoffs.
Earlier, hosts KXIP had only themselves to blame for their below-par batting performance at the PCA Stadium in Mohali.
In came leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal and the contest between bat and ball became more interesting.
MI WIN BY 7 WICKETS