Fighting Mumbai Indians stay alive

Fighting Mumbai Indians stay alive

TURNING IT AROUND: Mumbai Indians’ Jasprit Bumrah bowled a brilliant spell at the death to help his side snatch a close win over Kings XI Punjab. PTI

Defending champions Mumbai Indians kept their IPL play-off hopes alive after defeating Kings XI Punjab by three runs in a last-over thriller of the Indian Premier League here on Wednesday.

Jasprit Bumrah (3/15) and Pollard (50) were the top performers for Mumbai.

For Punjab, Andrew Tye (4/16) returned with a four-wicket haul, while KL Rahul scored 94 off 60 balls but Bumrah derailed their chase.

Rahul's valiant knock included 10 fours and three sixes but Bumrah scalped the right-hander in the penultimate over to out Mumbai on top. Rahul's 111-run alliance with Aaron Finch threatened to take the game away from Mumbai but the defending champions got wickets at crucial junctures to remain in the contest. 

Earlier, West Indian Pollard struck a blistering fifty to rescue the defending champions from a mid-innings slump to a formidable 186 for eight.

MI got off to a flying start, reaching 57 for one after five overs but they lost three wickets in quick succession, including two off successive balls, against the pace bowling of Andrew Tye (4/16) before Pollard (50 off 23 balls) and Krunal Pandya (32 off 23 balls) resurrected the stuttering innings.

Before this knock, Pollard had only scored a paltry 83 runs in eight matches and was dropped from the playing XI but his 65-run stand with Krunal in 36 balls, steered Mumbai Indians out of trouble after they had slumped to 71/4.

Tye wrecked havoc on Mumbai’s top and middle order and his victims included Evin Lewis (9), Ishan Kishan (20) and Suryakumar Yadav (27).

After a cautious start, Krunal stuck two consecutive sixes and a four in the 12th over off Marcus Stonis, while Pollard followed it up with two sixes and as many fours in the next two overs.

However, just when they were looking good, Krunal threw his wicket away. But that did not dither Pollard who kept hitting his shots and raced to his fifty in just 22 balls studded with five fours and three sixes.

But as the West Indian all-rounder was poised for a big score, Ravichandran Ashwin (2/18) removed him in the 16th over, bringing Punjab back into the game. Hardik Pandya (9) and Ben Cutting (4) too fell cheaply.

Earlier, put into bat, Suryakumar and Lewis managed to put just 37 runs for the first wicket. Tye cleaned up Lewis. One down Kishan’s stay at the crease was also cut short by Tye, who stuck in his second over.

And on the very next delivery, Tye removed a set Yadav (27) as the defending champions slumped to 59/3.

Skipper Rohit Sharma’s (6) poor run also continued.

Meanwhile, the two flood-lights went off after the 10th over and play was halted for about 12 minutes. 

Mumbai Indians have jumped to fourth position with 12 points while Kings XI have slipped to sixth with same number of points.