Cape Town - The Mumbai Indians have kept their Indian Premier League playoff hopes alive with a narrow five-run victory over the Kolkata Knight Riders at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Thursday, reports the supersport.com website.
Needing just 12 runs off the final over, Kieron Pollard stepped up to bowl his only over of the match and claimed 1-6 as the Knight Riders ended on 166 for seven in reply to Mumbai’s 171 for four after Gautam Gambhir had won the toss and elected to bowl first.
The big turning point was the dismissal of Yusuf Pathan (52) with the first ball of the final over. Pathan, who reached his 50 off 35 balls, tried to hit a short ball from Pollard towards mid-wicket but sent the ball straight up into the air where wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel ran around and claimed the catch to send the Mumbai crowd into ecstatic raptures.
Mumbai’s innings was built around an unbroken stand of 92 off 56 balls for the fifth wicket between Pollard (38 not out) and 21-year-old Hardik Pandya, who ended unbeaten on 61 off 31 balls with eight boundaries and two maximums.
Pandya, who picked up the man of the match award, walked to the middle with the score on 79 for four after Shakib al Hasan (4-0-22-2) had dismissed Patel (21) and Ambati Rayudu (two).
The delivery of the match belonged to offspinner Sunil Narine (4-0-38-1), who clean-bowled Rohit Sharma for 30 off 21 balls. Morne Morkel (4-0-27-1) claimed the other wicket, that of the West Indian right-hander Lendl Simmons for 14.
Kolkata’s chase began solidly with an opening stand of 46 off 36 balls between Robin Uthappa (25) and Gambhir (38) but the introduction of Harbhajan Singh (4-0-31-1) turned the tables.
Harbhajan had Uthappa caught by Malinga at short fine-leg and then Simmons produced a brilliant piece of fielding at backward point when he threw down the stumps at the striker’s end to dismiss Manish Pandey (one) just three balls later.
Pathan and Ganbhir threatened to take the game away from Mumbai with a stand of 42 off 33 balls but Jadadeesha Suchith clean bowled Gambhir. It was a huge relief for Pandya, who dropped the Knight Riders’ captain the ball before.
Vinay Kumar (4-0-33-1) returned to the attack and dismissed Shakib (23 off 15) just as the Bangladesh allrounder started to threaten.
Malinga (4-0-31-1) then dismissed Andre Russell (two) in the next over before Mitchell McClenaghan (4-0-31-1) had Suryakumar Yadav (11) caught by Rayudu on the square-leg boundary.
Mumbai’s victory moves them into fourth position on the log after 13 games with 14 points, level on points with the Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad, although the Sunrisers have a game in hand.
Both the Knight Riders and Mumbai will need to win their final match to secure their playoff place, as Kolkata are just a single point ahead of Mumbai.
Mumbai Indians: LMP Simmons, PA Patel (wicketkeeper), RG Sharma (capt), KA Pollard, AT Rayudu, HH Pandya, Harbhajan Singh, J Suchith, MJ McClenaghan, R Vinay Kumar, SL Malinga
Kolkata Knight Riders: RV Uthappa (wicketkeeper), G Gambhir (captain), MK Pandey, YK Pathan, AD Russell, SA Yadav, Shakib Al Hasan, PP Chawla, UT Yadav, M Morkel, SP Narine