Lendl Simmons continued his impressive show by notching up a well-made 65 while Kieron Pollard blasted a quick-fire 41 as Mumbai Indians posted 187 for 6 against Chennai Super Kings in the First Qualifier of IPL cricket tournament here today.
Simmons, who notched up his fifth half century of the competition, struck five sixes and three fours in his 51-ball innings. Along with Parthiv Patel (35), Simmons provided a solid opening stand of 90 runs at nearly 9 runs an over before MI lost quick wickets between the 11th and 16th overs to be in some sort of bother at 139 for 4.
It was then left to fellow Trinidadian Pollard to smash five huge sixes along with a boundary in just 17 balls to take MI closer to the 200-run mark.
For league table toppers CSKOpting to bat first, MI were again given a sound start by the right-left combine of Simmons and Patel who first raised 48 by the end of six-over Powerplay.
CSK used off-spinner R Ashwin to open the bowling with left arm seam bowler Ashish Nehra and had things under control in the first four overs.
However, Simmons carted Ashwin in his third over, beyond the straight field and then over the mid-wicket region for two sixes. Simmons, who has been in fine form from the time he came in as replacement for the injured Aaron Finch, then struck a third six – onto the sight screen – off Nehra in the last over of play.
And when Ravindra Jadeja came to bowl the 8th over, the West Indian smacked him over long on for another six to keep the run-rate hovering around the eight-run mark.
Left-handed Patel, kept quiet at the other end, went after Pawan Negi by lashing a six over long on and then striking two more fours in the 9th over to increase MI’s run-rate.
Simmons completed his 5th half-century of the season off 38 balls studded with three fours and four sixes, in the tenth over at the end of which MI had advanced to 86 for no loss with Simmons on 51 and Patel on 32.
Dhoni summoned his 'Crisis Man' Bravo to stem the run flow and the ebullient West Indian all rounder clicked by having Patel caught at long on to reach a landmark of 100 IPL victims in his 89th IPL game overall.
Pollard then joined MI skipper Rohit Sharma and immediately started controlling the pace by clouting 2 sixes in one Negi over as the score leapt to 135 for 2 at the end of 15 overs. It was Pollard who kept hitting big shots as MI reached par score in the end.