Mumbai, April 11 (IANS) Keiron Pollard poured cold water on KL Rahul’s maiden hundred with a whirlwind knock as Mumbai Indians scripted a last-ball three-wicket victory over Kings XI Punjab in a thrilling Indian Premier League (IPL) encounter here on Wednesday.
World Cup hopeful Rahul slammed an unbeaten 100 off 64 balls (6×4; 6×6) along with Chris Gayle’s 63 off 36 balls to help Punjab post a challenging 197/4 after Pollard — captaining the team in the absence of Rohit Sharma who is injured — asked them bat first.
Chasing 198 for a win, Mumbai were stuttering at 56/2 when Pollard (83 off 31 balls) pushed himself up at No 4 and took the game away from Punjab by hitting 10 sixes and three fours.
With 15 needed in the last over, Pollard dismissed after smashing a six off a no ball and a four by Ankit Rajpoot.
But Alzarri Joseph (15 not out) kept his cool to take his team over the line with two needed from the last ball. Mumbai posted 198/7.
Mumbai were 56/2 when Pollard came to the crease. The veteran West Indies all-rounder then joined hands with Ishan Kishan (7) and Hardik Pandya 19) to stitch together 32 and 41 run stands for the fourth and fifth wickets respectively to then associate with Joseph for a seventh wicket 54-run partnership.
Earlier, Rahul and with Gayle combined for a 116-run opening wicket partnership to give the visitors a blistering start.
While Rahul hit six fours and six sixes, Gayle bludgeoned seven maximums and three fours.
Gayle was dismissed in the 13th over after which Kings XI slowed down a bit. But Rahul ensured they get to a above par score by smashing Hardik Pandya 6-4-6-6 in the first four deliveries of the 19th over and then hitting Jasprit Bumrah for a four and six in the final over, as 38 runs came in the last two.
Gayle, typically, took time to get going and it was only in the fifth over that the legendary West Indian changed gears by hitting Jason Behrendorff for three sixes and one four as the Aussue leaked 23 runs.
Kings XI were 50/0 at the end of Powerplay with both batsmen looking in ominous form.
Rahul hit Joseph for a delectable six and a four in the seventh over to continue his good form.
There was no stopping Gayle as he plundered a six and two fours off Hardik in the ninth over which costed the home team 17 runs as Kings XI raced to 93/0 at the halfway stage.
Gayle then brought up his 26th fifty in the IPL off 31 balls by smacking Krunal Pandya for a six in the 11th over. Punjab badly needed to break the partnerhip and Behrendorff did it, coming back to remove Gayle.
David Miller (7) did not last long, caught behind by Quinton de Kock off Hardik as the scoring slowed down.
Karun Nair followed suit managing only five runs before nicking one to de Kock behind the stumps off Pandya.
Sam Curran (8) tried to be cheeky but Bumrah got the better off him as the England all-rounder scooped one to de Kock. Just when it looked like Mumbai had successfully reined in, Rahul went berserk in the last two overs and together with Mandeep Singh (7 not out) associated a brisk 46-run stand for the fifth wicket.
Brief scores: Kings XI Punjab 197/4 (K.L. Rahul 100, Chris Gayle 63; Hardik Pandya 2/57) vs Mumbai Indians 198/7 (Keiron Pollard 83; Mohammed Shami 3/21)