Saha's unbeaten 93 helps Punjab keep playoff hopes alive

Predicting the outcome of the Mumbai Indians' last home match against Kings XI Punjab at the Wankhede Stadium on Thursday would have been a long shot, especially on the basis of the 10-9 head-to-head score-line in favour of the two-time league victor before Rohit Sharma and Glenn Maxwell went for the toss.

Put into bat, Kings XI Punjab piled up a mammoth 230 for 3 in 20 overs riding on Wriddhiman Saha's belliegerent unbeaten 93 off 55 balls. With 18 points in 12 games, Mumbai need one win from their remaining two matches to ensure that.

The teams' aggregate runs scored - a total of 453 - was the second highest in IPL history. Interestingly, the bookies were nabbed from the hotel, where the teams - Gujarat Lions and Delhi Daredevils - were staying for their IPL match, held in the Uttar Pradesh city on Wednesday.

MI were provided an ideal 99-run start in 52 balls for the first wicket by Lendl Simmons (5x4, 4x6) and Parthiv Patel (38, 23b, 7x4), before Parthiv departed.

Simmons' innings of 59 was culled by a sensational catch by Guptill at long-on; the New Zealander timed his jump to perfection and was suspended in flight when he plucked the ball out of thin air.




The side has posted a total of 230 or above for the third time in all the 10 season of IPL.

The Australian took Harbhajan Singh for three sixes in a brutal opening over from the veteran spinner, but was bowled just shy of a half-century, attempting to flick Jasprit Bumrah behind square. However, MI skipper Rohit and youngster Nitish Rana couldn't score big and were sent to the pavilion soon. However, Pollard stepped up, belting a four and five sixes in a 24-ball cameo to energise the innings in a 55-run, fifth wicket partnership with Hardik Pandya whose 30 came from a mere 13 balls and contained four fours.

MI looked down and out when they slipped to 121 for four in the 13th over while chasing 232 against Kings XI Punjab.

Batting first, Martin Guptill and WriddhimanSahahelped KXIP to their season-best powerplay score; the opening pair added 71 runs in the first six overs with both batsmen contributing in nearly equal proportions. Saha struck two consecutive fours in the same over as Punjab reached 50 in only 3.4 just overs. Needing 23 off 2 overs, Sandeep Sharma gave only 7 runs off the penultimate over before Mohit's brilliant final over.

"(Before) the last over I did not come to the bowler (Mohit), they (Mohit, Glenn Maxwell) were discussing that (Kieron) Pollard was hitting well, but he was exhausted, so if he was bowled a yorker, it would be tough for him", Saha said.

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