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    IPL 2016 : Pollard's blitzkreig wins it for Mumbai against KKR

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    Rohit Sharma’s graceful innings (68 not out) and Kieron Pollard’s brutal assault (51 not out) led Mumbai Indians to a comfortable six-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders here on Thursday.

    The Wankhede Stadium turned into a playground for the Mumbai heavyweights, Rohit stroking eight fours and two sixes in his 49-ball effort and Pollard smashing two boundaries and six sixes off just 17 balls. Their unbeaten 72-run stand ensured that the target of 175 was achieved with two overs to spare.

    Climbing to third

    This was Mumbai Indians’s fourth win in eight matches, taking it to the third spot with eight points. Knight Riders remained second with eight points in six games.

    The host was on course in the PowerPlay overs as Rohit milked the bowling and partner Rayudu indulged in late cuts. The two took the Kolkata attack apart before Suryakumar Yadav pulled off a fantastic running catch to send back the latter. Mumbai made 64 runs in the first six overs compared to Knight Riders’ 59.

    The home team gambled by sending youngster Krunal Pandya up the order. However, the left-hander danced down the track against Sunil Narine, missed and lost the middle-stump.

    Stunning catch

    Chris Lynn bettered Suryakumar’s catch with a leap, hop-across-the-rope and jump-back to make a stunning effort at long-off look easy.

    The Aussie’s effort will rank as one of the fielding highs of IPL-9 for his body balance and presence of mind while flicking the ball up and returning to hold it.

    Showing the way

    Earlier, Gautam Gambhir showed the way yet again with a controlled knock, his 59 laced with six boundaries and a six.

    The Mumbai fast-bowlers showed discipline, conceding not many runs and keeping the hard-hitters in check.

    The catching was, however, a letdown; three of them were dropped, two by Tim Southee on the fence and one by Mitchell McClenaghan.

    The Kiwi left-arm seamer spilled a steep return catch offered by Gambhir, while Bumrah faced a rampant Uthappa at the other end.

    The Knight Riders openers, who rattled up 59 in six overs, looked all set to carry on before Harbhajan sent Uthappa back in the eighth over.

    The slow bowlers were effective in checking the scoring rate after the 69-run first-wicket stand. Gambhir, who reached his half-century off 39 balls, fell to a mistimed slog.

    Knight Riders’ run-burst in the slog overs did not happen, as anticipated, despite Southee dropping two catches at mid-wicket, losing track of the ball under the lights and among the stands. McClenaghan was the bowler to suffer both times.

    It was Yusuf Pathan’s final flourish — 19 off eight deliveries — that carried Knight Riders to 174 for five in 20 overs.

    Rohit chose to bowl after winning the toss, not wanting his bowlers to struggle with the dew in the latter half. That proved wise in the final analysis.

    Scoreboard

    Kolkata Knight Riders: Robin Uthappa c Pollard b Harbhajan 36 (20b, 1x4, 2x6), Gautam Gambhir c Pollard b McClenaghan 59 (45b, 6x4, 1x6), Shakib-Al Hasan c Parthiv b Hardik 6 (4b, 1x4), Suryakumar Yadav c & b Southee 21 (17b, 2x4), Andre Russell b Southee 22 (16b, 3x4), Chris Lynn (not out) 10 (10b), Yusuf Pathan (not out) 19 (8b, 4x4); Extras (lb-1): 1; Total (for five wkts. in 20 overs): 174.

    Fall of wickets: 1-69 (Uthappa), 2-77 (Shakib), 3-121 (Gambhir), 4-130 (Suryakumar), 5-145 (Russell).

    Mumbai Indians bowling: Tim Southee 4-0-38-2, Mitchell McClenaghan 4-0-33-1, Jasprit Bumrah 4-0-34-0, Harbhajan Singh 4-0-32-1, Hardik Pandya 2-0-15-1, Krunal Pandya 2-0-21-0.

    Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (not out) 68 (49b, 8x4, 2x6), Parthiv Patel c Yusuf b Umesh 1 (2b), Ambati Rayudu c Suryakumar b Shakib 32 (20b, 5x4, 1x6), Krunal Pandya b Narine 6 (5b, 1x4), Jos Buttler c Lynn b Narine 15 (15b, 2x4), Kieron Pollard (not out) 51 (17b, 2x4, 6x6); Extras (w-5): 5; Total (for four wkts. in 18 overs): 178.

    Fall of wickets: 1-8 (Parhiv), 2-67 (Rayudu, 3-78 (Krunal), 4-106 (Buttler).

    Kolkata Knight Riders bowling: Jaydev Unadkat 3-0-49-0, Umesh Yadav 2-0-19-1, Shakib Al Hasan 4-0-30-1, Sunil Narine 4-0-22-2, R. Sathish 2-0-30-0, Andre Russell 3-0-28-0.

    Toss: Mumbai Indians.

    Man-of-the-match: Rohit Sharma.

    Mumbai Indians won by six wickets with 12 balls to spare.

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