Indian Premier League: Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard keep Mumbai Indians in hunt for third title

With the win, the defending champions have climbed back to third position with four wins from eight matches.

Indian Premier League: Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard keep Mumbai Indians in hunt for third title

New Delhi: The trend, of teams batting second winning Indian Premier League matches, continued as Mumbai Indians completed a double over Kolkata Knight Riders on Thursday at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai.

But it was not the trend which rocked the league, but a certain Kieron Pollard. The West Indian registered fastest ever fifty for a Mumbai Indian player. He hit six sixes to change the dynamics of the match in the final stretch, which was until his arrival in the centre, anybody's game.

Thanks to his exploit, Mumbai Indians won the match by six wickets with 12 balls remaining in the match. And most importantly, Mumbai ended their campaign at Wankhede Stadium on a winning note.

Just like in the first meeting between the two teams at Eden Gardens, in Kolkata, MI skipper Rohit Sharma outshone his rival skipper with the bat. His unbeaten knock of 68 runs from 49 balls was the anchor the team needed while chasing a big total of 174.

Both the captains today notched up their respective 29th fifties, which is a joint record with another captain David Warner of Sunrisers Hyderabad. But the joy belonged to Mumbai skipper.

With the win, the defending champions have climbed back to third position with four wins from eight matches.

For KKR, their chance to return to top position failed with the defeat and are now second behind Gujarat Lions. Gautam Gambhir's side has four wins from six matches, while Lions have five wins from an equal number of outings.

After winning the toss, Rohit Sharma asked the visitors to bat first as a packed Wankhede crowd readied for the final game of the season.

KKR, thanks to their opening pair of Gambhir and Robin Uthappa (36 off 20), started well. The duo posted 69 runs in 7.4 overs. Gambhir's 59 off 45 deliveries was laced with six fours and a six.

Despite a good start, KKr failed to score heavily in the middle overs. And if not for late flourishes for Yusuf Pathan (19 off 8) and Andre Russell (22 off 16), they would have failed to cross 160-run mark.

Tim Southee, who dropped three catches in one Mitchell McClenaghan over, returned with two wickets conceding 38 runs from his four overs.

McClenaghan took a wicket, so thus Harbhajan Singh and Hardik Pandya.

Unlike the KKR innings, MI's run chase started in worst possible way losing Parthiv Patel returning to hut in the second over after flashing his bad to widish Umesh Yadav delivery.

But a brisk second wicket stand between skipper Rohit and Ambati Rayudu kept the chase alive. After Rayudu's fall, Mumbai seemed to have lost the plot, losing Krunal Pandya and Jos Buttler even as asking rate kept hovering near 10 an over.

The arrival of Pollard in the 13th over proved decisive. He and Rohit plundered runs in a 72-run fifth wicket stand from five overs.

As expected KKR relied heavily on the craft of Sunil Narine. The West Indian spinner was the best of the lot. His figures of 4-0-22-2 could have well proved match-winning effort, but his West Indian compatriot on other colours denied any such possibility.

Shakib Al Hasan, another spinner, in the KKR ranks did well with the bowl, but two overs from Rajagopal Sathish towards the end proved costly. In his two overs, the slow medium pacer leaked 30 runs, with the second one going for 22 runs.

Another pacer, with lively speed, Jaydev Unadkat also leaked runs. His three overs conceded 49 runs.

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