A monster performance at the crease from Kieron Pollard took Mumbai Indians to the brink of an improbable IPL win, before compatriot Alzarri Joseph hit the winning two runs off the last ball in a dramatic finish.
Kings XI Punjab batted first at Wankhede and were put in the driving seat courtesy of a 116-run opening stand between Chris Gayle (63 off 36) and KL Rahul (100* off 64). The Indian batsman anchored the innings well as wickets fell at the other end following Gayle’s departure.
A score of 197/4 was more than competitive and in the absence of the injured Rohit Sharma, it was stand-in captain Pollard who took centre stage. When Hardik Pandya was dismissed in the 16th over, Mumbai required 63 off 24 balls.
The Windies all-rounder put in a sensational display of power-hitting, dispatching the likes of Ravichandran Ashwin and Sam Curran with ease. His knock of 83 from just 31 balls included 10 sixes and three fours (72 runs exclusively in boundaries).
His wicket left Mumbai needing four runs from as many deliveries but Joseph held his nerve under pressure to see them over the line. The victory takes the hosts into third place, one above Kings XI who have played a game extra.
WHO’S THE BOSS?
Apart from his knock of 79 off 47 balls against Rajasthan Royals in the first round of fixtures, Gayle had largely disappointed in the 2019 edition of the IPL going into the encounter at Wankhede. In fact, he’s even been comfortably overshadowed by his compatriot Andre Russell who’s an early favourite for the Man of the Tournament award.
The Kolkata Knight Riders all-rounder boasts an average of 128.50, a strike rate of 212.39 and has hit 25 sixes – seven more than anyone else this season. There were even murmurs in the Twittersphere that Russell was ‘Universe Boss 2.0’. Gayle wasn’t going to stand for that.
The West Indies opener produced a vintage performance against Mumbai. Having taken the first 10 balls or so to get his eye in, he proceeded to bludgeon seven sixes on his way to 63 off 36 balls but suffered some discomfort and required treatment from the physio. He was dismissed the very next ball.
In the second innings, it became apparent that Gayle wasn’t having to defend his ‘Universe Boss’ title against just one of his compatriots. Pollard’s phenomenal performance with the bat served as a timely reminded of just what he’s capable of.
THE NO1 CHOICE?
Rahul wears the number one on the back of his Kings XI shirt and while that likely denotes his place in their batting order, it is perhaps doubling up as a message to the Indian team selectors thanks to his recent form.
After falling cheaply in the opening couple of games this season, he proceeded to stack up four half centuries over the following five games before going the distance and scoring a ton in Mumbai.
Conveniently for him, his best knock so far came on a day that Rohit Sharma was missing through injury and unable to respond. Rahul is certainly challenging the experienced batsman for his opening slot at the World Cup but under even more threat is Shikhar Dhawan’s place in the XI.
The southpaw has struggled just as much as Sharma this season but doesn’t boast the seniority or decision-making in the field that Mumbai skipper does. Selectors will be impressed with how Rahul has managed his innings, consistently getting off to good starts before accelerating.
IN ROHIT’S ABSENCE
The absence of Rohit Sharma’s name from the playing XI had a jarring effect. While Mumbai Indians aren’t exactly short of talent, his absence does remove a significant portion of star quality from their side. A muscle spasm ruled him out of an IPL match for the first time in 11 years.
Pollard took charge in his stead and some of his decisions in the field were questionable not least of which was limiting Joseph to just two overs.
Mumbai’s top order looked a little ordinary without him as well and chasing 198, they needed one of them to lay the foundation for a successful innings. In the end though, Pollard single-handedly snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.
Three-time champions Mumbai are currently two points behind KXIP in the league table after registering three wins in their five matches so far. Punjab, on the other hand, have eight points from their campaign although Ravi Ashwin’s men have played a game more.
Veteran pacer Lasith Malinga is expected to return for the hosts after rejoining the Mumbai Indians camp on Tuesday.
Can Mumbai steal a march over KXIP in the points table or will the visitors join CSK at the top of the table with five wins? Follow the ball-by-ball live updates from the Wankhede below to find out.
It’s the fourth round of IPL Fantasy League and things get particularly interesting this week as struggling Rajasthan Royals play three games this round while fantasy favourites Sunrisers feature just once.
Dream 11 are the official partners of IPL and run daily fantasy games as well as per round.
Here we help you ace the round wise fantasy league, with just five trades allowed.
TOP TIPS FOR ROUND 4
Rajasthan make it tricky
They have three matches coming up but how many players do you back with confidence? Rajasthan are near the bottom of the pile with just one win from five matches. They look comfortable neither home nor away and their star-studded foreign contingent is bombing. Pick one or at the most two names as someone like David Warner could give you more points in the one game he plays this round for Sunrisers. It’s a fine juggling act, though.
Faf du Plessis (8.5 credits)
The Chennai Super Kings batsman was a late entrant into the tournament but is now turning out to be an even more reliable bat than Shane Watson with nearly a hundred runs in two outings. Will get to bat away from Chennai, which means better wickets and more runs.
Ashton Turner (8 cr)
The Rajasthan Royals are struggling and seriously need some life injected in their campaign. The Aussie hard-hitter could be the one for them as he recently tore the Indian bowling apart during the ODI series.
Shreyas Iyer (9 cr)
The Delhi Capitals skipper has quietly gone about his business, scoring more runs than Virat Kohli (215 to 203 from six games). Can be a silent performer and looks assured when at the crease.
Shreyas Gopal (7.5 cr)
The Rajasthan Royals leg-spinner has been a bit of a revelation, with his googlies quite tough to pick. Plus his eight wickets have cost him just 6.3 runs an over. Almost a guaranteed performer.
Imran Tahir (7.5 cr)
The Chennai Super Kings veteran leggie shows no signs of slowing down even at 40. An incredible nine wickets from six matches at an economy of 5.3 make him a goldmine for fantasy points even if Chennai will be playing away.
Jofra Archer (9 cr)
Three matches should give the lanky quick a few more entries in the wickets column. The Rajasthan pacer has been steady with three wickets at economy of 7.2 – but one gets a feeling wickets are just round the corner, and maybe some runs as well as he is an all-rounder after all.
Hardik Pandya (10 cr)
The Mumbai Indians all-rounder is scoring just the type of cameos down the order that his team needs, alongside Kieron Pollard. And with the ball, he has four wickets from five games even if expensive. Again, almost guaranteed points.
Andre Russell (10 cr)
No need to dissect this one anymore. Pick Dre Russ. The end. FYI, he has hit 25 sixes off the 121 balls he has faced. Unless his wrist injury is really serious, should still bat.
Jos Buttler (10 cr)
The Rajasthan Royals keeper has two fifties but hasn’t hit top gear yet. However, should fire in at least one of the three games and remain tidy behind the stumps – which means fantasy points. Easy pick.
Rishabh Pant (9.5 cr)
The Delhi Capitals keeper is batting at a strike rate of more than 170, which is superb given the struggles of many batsmen. Plus, has at least two dismissals in all but one game. Can set the register ringing.
Captain: Jos Buttler
Vice Captain: Rishabh Pant