Lendl Simmons smashed a scintillating 61-ball 100 to guide Mumbai Indians to a morale-boosting seven-wicket victory over table-toppers Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League match in Mohali on Wednesday night.
The West Indies batsman smashed 14 fours and two sixes during his unbeaten knock, as the visitors chased down a target of 157 with an over to spare and kept their hopes alive in the tournament.
Simmons's hundred is the first three-figure score in this edition of the T20 league.
This was Mumbai Indians' fifth victory in 11 matches while Kings XI Punjab had already sealed a place in the play-offs.
Simmons went on a hitting spree from the first over, dispatching medium pacer Sandeep Sharma for three fours.
Beuran Hendricks was given a similar treatment as the 29-year-old opener raced to 33 off just 16 balls.
The onslaught continued and none of the Kings XI Punjab bowlers had any clue about where to bowl to the marauding West Indian.
Shivam Sharma and Rishi Dhawan were smashed for 19 and 17 runs respectively in their first two overs.
Dhawan, though, made a comeback to finish with figures of 1 for 30 in four overs, respectable in the face of such onslaught.
Akshar Patel had 1 for 27 in his four.
With Simmons in such a mood, his opening partner Mike Hussey was not needed to do anything and when he got out, the experienced Australian had just six runs to his name in a partnership of 68 that came from seven overs.
Mumbai Indians lost Ambati Rayudu after that but Simmons was unperturbed as he continued to torment the Kings XI bowlers. He added 43 runs with Rayudu before the Indian got out.
When Sandeep Sharma was brought back, he was hit for a massive six, which was Simmons's second, the first coming against Shivam.
With Mumbai Indians needing less than 50 runs with plenty of overs to go, Rohit Sharma joined hands with Simmons to take the side to victory before the skipper was dismissed by Hendricks.
Kieron Pollard hit a six, after Simmons reached his century with a flick, to finish off the game.
Earlier, Kings XI recovered after a middle-order collapse to post a challenging 156 for eight.
Skipper George Bailey top-scored with 39 while Manan Vohra and Shaun Marsh contributed 36 and 30 respectively.
Sent in to bat, Punjab were strongly placed at 90 for two after the first 10 overs, but lost their way after that before Bailey anchored the innings with some calculative batting.
For Mumbai Indians, Jasprit Bumrah (2-31) and Shreyas Gopal (2-32) were the most successful bowlers.
Punjab were off with a bang as Virender Sehwag launched the innings with a couple of sixes -- the first one soaring over extra cover before dispatching a slower one straight over the bowler's head.
But the opener's innings was cut short as he was run-out by Praveen Kumar. Sehwag hit the ball and took off for a run but it ricocheted off no-striker Manan Vohra's foot to Kumar, who quickly knocked the bails off.
In came Shaun Marsh and, in his first appearance this season, raced to 30 off just 17 balls, with the help of two sixes and as many fours. Vohra too went along nicely to keep the run rate healthy.
However, the 64-run partnership between Vohra and Marsh ended as the Aussie went for a heave towards the on-side only to be bowled by Krishmar Santokie.
That triggered a collapse as Punjab lost a flurry of wickets, including the big one of Glenn Maxwell to Shreyas Gopal, and were stuttering at 116 for six in the 17th over.
Bailey then added 38 runs in just 3.2 overs with Rishi Dhawan, who hit a couple of fours in his nine-ball 14, to help Punjab’s cause.
Image: Lendl Simmons celebrates after completing his century