West Indian Kieron Pollard struck a blistering fifty to rescue defending champions Mumbai Indians from a mid-innings slump to a formidable 186 for 8 against Kings XI Punjab in their crucial IPL game here tonight.
MI got off to a flying start, reaching 57-1 after five overs but they lost three wickets in quick succession, including two off successive balls, against the pace bowling of Andrew Tye (4-16) before Pollard (50 off 23 balls) and Krunal Pandya (32 off 23 balls) resurrected the stuttering innings.
Before this knock, Pollard had only scored a paltry 83 runs in 8 matches and was dropped from the playing XI but his 65-run stand with Krunal in 36 balls, steered Mumbai Indians out of trouble after they had slumped to 71/4.
Tye wrecked havoc on Mumbai's top and middle order and his victims included Evin Lewis (9), Ishan Kishan (20) and Suryakumar Yadav (27).
After a cautious start, Krunal stuck two consecutive sixes and a four in the 12th over off Marcus Stonis, while Pollard followed it up with two sixes and as many fours in the next two overs.
However, just when they were looking good, Krunal threw his wicket away. But that did not dither Pollard who kept hitting his shots and raced to his fifty in just 22 balls studded with five fours and three sixes.
But as the West Indian all-rounder was poised for a big score, Ravichandran Ashwin (2/18) removed him in the 16th over, bringing Punjab back into the game. Hardik Pandya (9) and Ben Cutting (4) too fell cheaply.
Earlier, put into bat, Yadav and Lewis managed to put just 37 runs for the first wicket. Tye cleaned up Lewis. One down Kishan's stay at the crease was also cut short by Tye, who stuck in his second over.
And on the very next delivery, Tye removed a set Yadav (27) as the defending champions slumped to 59/3.
Skipper Rohit Sharma's (6) poor run also continued.
Meanwhile, the two flood-lights went off after the 10th over and play was halted for about 12 minutes.
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