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IPL PHOTOS: Punjab edge past Mumbai to keep play-off hopes alive

Source: PTI
Last updated on: May 12, 2017 00:26 IST
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IMAGE: Kings XI Punjab players celebrate winning the match against Mumbai Indians. Photograph: BCCI

Wriddhiman Saha smashed a 55-ball 93 before the Kings XI Punjab pacers held their nerves in a pressure situation to help the visitors edge past Mumbai Indians by seven runs in a thrilling finish, in the Indian Premier League, in Mumbai, on Thursday.

Chasing 231 for victory, Mumbai Indians looked in the hunt with 23 needed from two overs for victory and a well-set Kieron Pollard in the middle. However, pacers Sandeep Sharma and Mohit Sharma conceded seven and eight runs respectively with the former bowling three successive yorkers in the final over to deny Pollard and Mumbai Indians.

Pollard smashed an unbeaten on 50 from 24 balls as Mumbai finished on 223 for six in their 20 overs.

Kieron Pollard

IMAGE: Kieron Pollard hits out. Photograph: BCCI

The victory kept Punjab's hopes alive of making it to the play-offs as they posted their seventh wicket in 13 games.

The KXIP win also puts pressure on Sunrisers Hyderabad (15 points from 13 games) to win their last match to ensure smooth passage into the last four.

Even on a placid Wankhede track, a target of 231 was a huge one. Parthiv Patel (38) and Lendl Simmons (59 off 32 balls) smoted the KXIP bowling en route their 99-run stand in only 8.4 overs.

Mohit Sharma, despite being smashed for 33 in his first two overs, bowled a delivery that climbed on a surging Parthiv, who offered simple skier to Manan Vohra.

Simmons, who scored his half-century off only 27 balls, hit five boundaries and four sixes, before a brilliant effort at the long-on boundary from Martin Guptill saw the Caribbean international head back to the dug-out.

Martin Guptill

IMAGE: Martin Guptill takes the catch to dismiss Lendl Simmons. Photograph: BCCI

The bowler was skipper Glenn Maxwell and Guptill timed his jump to perfection at long-on boundary to take a one-handed catch.

Leg-spinner Rahul Tewatia then bowled a half-tracker to rival skipper Rohit Sharma (5), who provided the simplest of catches to Guptill at deep midwicket.

The New Zealander was back in action when Nitish Rana (12) slogged one down his throat at the same position off Axar Patel's bowling.

From 99 for no loss, Mumbai Indians slumped to 121 for four and it was a matter of time before scoreboard pressure got to the home team.

But Pollard and Hardik Pandya (30 off 13 balls) had other ideas as they smoked 55 runs in 3.3 overs to bring Mumbai back in the hunt.

Pandya was caught brilliantly by Saha behind the stumps off Sandeep Sharma, Karn Sharma (19 off 6 balls) also did his bit with Pollard going for the jugular. Needing 23 off two overs, Sandeep Sharma gave only seven runs off the penultimate over before Mohit's brilliant final over.

Earlier, Test specialist Wriddhiman Saha displayed a different facet of his batsmanship with a stroke-filled unbeaten 93 of 55 balls to power Kings XI Punjab to 230 for three, the highest score in this year's IPL.

Saha, who also has a century which he hit in the 2014 IPL final, struck 11 boundaries and three sixes to anchor the innings.

Martin Guptill hit a flurry of boundaries at the start, smashing his way to 18-ball-36, while Glenn Maxwell slammed 47 off 21 balls to boost Punjab's total.

Wriddhiman Saha

IMAGE: Wriddhiman Saha on the attack. Photograph: BCCI

It was an off day for MI bowlers with all of them taken to the cleaners by Saha and Co. Mitchell McClenaghan (1-54), Lasith Malinga (0-45), Harbhajan Singh (0-45), Jasprit Bumrah (1-24), Karn Sharma (1-32 ) and Hardik Pandya (0-29) were hammered to all parts of the Wankhede stadium.

Punjab were well-poised at 173 for two at the end of 15 overs and they continue to dominate with the bat, smashing 57 off the last five overs to post the their overall highest score at the Wankhede.

This was the third instance when a team has posted a total of 230 or above for the third time in the 10 season of IPL.

Put into bat, Punjab had a flying start as their openers Saha and Guptill put on a 68-run stand from 33 balls.

Hardik Pandya conceded three fours in the opening over, two stuck by Kiwi Guptill and the other hit by Saha, who opened the innings in place of Manan Vohra.

Glenn Maxwell

IMAGE: Glenn Maxwell hits a six. Photograph: BCCI

Saha stuck three boundaries off Mitchell McClenaghan as the visitors raced to 29 from two overs.

Guptill was in his element hitting a towering six down the ground off Malinga, while Saha struck two consecutive fours in the same over as Punjab raced past 50 in only 3.4 overs.

As Guptill was looking in ominous touch, Hardik took a splendid running catch at mid-on, to send him back off leg-spinner Karn Sharma.

At the end of Powerplay, Punjab were well placed on 71 for one.

Guptill's departure did not bother Saha, as he continued to take on opposition bowlers, hitting two fours in the seventh over.

IMAGE: Glenn Maxwell is bowled by Jasprit Bumrah. Photograph: BCCI

Skipper Maxwell joined in as he struck two massive sixes, one over long on off and other over extra cover off Karn with Punjab completing 100 in just 8 overs.

In the ninth over, veteran spinner Harbhajan was hit for three sixes by Maxwell as Punjab batsman continued to dominate the Mumbai bowlers. There was no looking back for Preity Zinta co-owned team from thereon.

After Maxwell's departure, Saha built a 52-run stand with Shaun Marsh (25) and hit a few boundaries at the end in company of Axar Patel.

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