The 24th game of the exciting Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019 extravaganza between hosts Mumbai Indians (MI) and Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) was an absolute incredible humdinger. The jam-packed Wankhede crowd witnessed a sensational nail-biting encounter which went down the wire with the Kieron Pollard-led team picking up an exuberant 3-wicket victory off just last ball of the game. The KXIP opening duo of Chris Gayle and KL Rahul stole the show in the first innings with some staggering individual innings. Rahul amassed a phenomenal hundred, while Gayle too stroked a blistering half-century knock to power KXIP towards a massive first innings total.
The home team lost some quick wickets at the start of the run-chase, but the stand-in skipper, Kieron Pollard kept his side in the game with his power-packed six-hitting show. He smacked a scintillating knock of 83 runs off just 31 balls which included 10 monstrous sixes, to take the matters till the final over. KXIP fast bowler Ankit Rajpoot tried to spoil the party, dismissing Pollard with four runs still needed to win the game. However, in the end, Alzarri Joseph held his nerves brilliantly well to guide Mumbai to an emphatic victory.
Rahul’s terrific century and Gayle’s dazzling opening blitz propel KXIP to 197
MI stand-in skipper Kieron Pollard won the toss and he went in with the usual chasing tradition of the Mumbai track, electing to field first. The KXIP opening duo comprising of Chris Gayle and KL Rahul initially started the innings on a pretty tentative note, managing just four runs in the first two overs. However, after the second over of the game, it seemed like sudden lightning stroked the energy in Rahul and especially Gayle. The big West Indian opener turned the Wankhede stadium into a power-hitting carnival, blasting a massive total of 23 runs first off Jason Behrendorff’s third over and then Hardik Pandya for 17 runs. Gayle totally looked to be in a dazzling mood, racking up a brilliant knock of 63 runs off just 36 balls which consisted of 7 sixes and 3 fours.
The excessive Mumbai heat brought an end to the fabulous century partnership and also Gayle’s blistering innings as Behrendorff dismissed the opener after he was down due to an excessive rise in temperatures. However, even after Gayle’s wicket, KL Rahul kept the onslaught in-tact, notching up a spectacular hundred off just 63 balls. Towards the end, Rahul played a mindboggling unbeaten century innings to propel KXIP to a mammoth total of 197 runs. For MI, Hardik picked up two wickets and ended with pretty atrocious figures of 2 for 57.
Kieron Pollard shines on captaincy debut
In the second innings, debutant Siddhesh Lad kicked off his IPL campaign on a great note, smashing Ankit Rajpoot for 11 runs in the first over. But after scoring 15 runs, it looked like he got a bit carried away and hence lost his wicket off a beautiful delivery bowled by Mohammed Shami. The likes of Suryakumar Yadav and Quinton de Kock also failed to longer their stays on the crease, perishing after getting significant starts. At the halfway mark in the chase, all the hopes of steering the team home safely rested on the shoulders of the big-hitting combo of Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya.
Shami then removed the Pandya brothers in a single over to leave the stand-in MI skipper strangled in with a mountainous task. He surely kept the hopes in-tact, scoring a blistering half-century off just 22 balls. With 32 runs needed off the last 12 balls, Pollard first smacked Sam Curran for 17 runs and then Ankit Rajpoot for 10 runs off the first two balls in the final over. But then came a massive anti-climax in the game as Pollard got dismissed while attempting another glory shot and left the MI hopes hanging over the barrel. However, the last match’s hero, Alzarri Joseph then came to the rescual, holding his nerves really well to steer his team to a remarkable last ball victory.
KXIP: 197/4 in 20 overs (KL Rahul-100*, Chris Gayle-63; Hardik Pandya 2/57)
MI: 198/7 in 20 overs (Kieron Pollard-83, Quinton de Kock-24; Mohammed Shami 3/21)
Result: Mumbai Indians won the match by 3 wickets.