Rohit Sharma’s 70 and Pollard-Pandya blitz help MI post 191 runs against KXIP

Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard added an unbeaten 67 off just 23 balls for the fifth wicket.

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

Two teams, coming off heartbreaking losses in close games, Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) and Mumbai Indians (MI) locked horns at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. The match was on a fresh pitch and to assess its behaviour, KL Rahul opted to bowl first after winning the toss. MI, after being put in to bat first, rode on Rohit Sharma’s 70 and the late flourish from Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya to post a massive 191 runs on the board after 20 overs.

Their overseas recruit Quinton de Kock’s travails continued. He missed one swinging delivery from Sheldon Cottrell to see his stumps shattered and also had to witness the salute celebrations from the Caribbean. Suryakumar Yadav then played a couple of good-looking boundaries. However, he and Rohit misjudged a single as they probably underestimated Mohammed Shami’s arm and he ended up affecting a direct-hit.

Surya was short of his ground and for the second time in four games, he got run-out. At 21/2, MI needed a decent partnership which came from Ishan Kishan and Rohit. The former though never looked settled in the middle and scored at a strike-rate of less than 100. However, Rohit Sharma, the MI skipper, batted well placing the ball precisely in the gaps to score boundaries.

MI accelerate in the last six overs

It wasn’t about power with the batting being tough in the middle and the Hitman’s finesse came to the fore. Once the 15th over began, Rohit Sharma started to open up his arms and Kieron Pollard also played a confident shot first up. Ravi Bishnoi went for 15 runs in the 15th over and this is where the momentum shifted. Rohit then got the better of Jimmy Neesham to smack two sixes and as many fours in the over.

In the process, he also got to his fifty and raced to 70. At this stage, it looked as if the MI captain will get to the three-figure mark with four overs in the innings still to go. But after the time-out, Mohammed Shami snaffled him to thanks to some good fielding effort from Glenn Maxwell.

However, Hardik Pandya came out to bat only to make things worse for KXIP. Along with Pollard, he added 67 runs in just 23 deliveries. While Pandya scored a quickfire 30 off 11 deliveries, it was the Caribbean giant, his partner, who helped MI get a strong finish with three sixes off the last three balls. MI finished with 191 runs on the board for the loss of four wickets scoring 104 runs in last six overs. Pollard finished unbeaten on 47 off just 20 balls.

KXIP’s tactics in the death overs were questionable as Neesham and Gowtham bowled three out of last five overs which cost them a lot. They will have to bat out of their skins to end up on the winning side and their skipper KL Rahul has to click.

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