Kings XI v Mumbai Indians, IPL 2014, Mohali May 21, 2014

Simmons ton pushes Mumbai to fifth


Mumbai Indians 159 for 3 (Simmons 100*) beat Kings XI Punjab 156 for 8 (Bailey 39, Vohra 36, Gopal 2-32) by seven wickets

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Simmons capitalised after Kings XI misread the pitch

Lendl Simmons walked in with a strike-rate of 115 this season. It would have been adequate considering Mumbai Indians' target was a relatively unchallenging 157. But he had other responsibilities to fulfill: Mumbai's chances at a playoff spot not only depended on wins in every match they play, they would also need to drub their oppositions. He responded with the first century of the season, lifting Mumbai to as high as fifth in the table.

Mumbai did waver from their course as the need to gain points on run-rate took a backseat to Simmons' landmark. His own nervousness contributed to a lull in scoring and sympathetic team-mates, including the big-hitting Kieron Pollard - blocked for him. The chase was well under their control and victory could have been theirs well earlier but they waited for Simmons. Once the necessary single was taken calmly through square leg, Pollard immediately slammed the final ball of the 19th over into the crowd beyond long-on.

Simmons drew impressive power from swift hands and a steady base. The cut was a frequent source of boundaries as he accounted for 55 of the opening partnership's 68. Kings XI Punjab were unable to keep to one side of the wicket which allowed Simmons to unleash an array of slog-sweeps and lashes down the ground to maintain a run-rate of nearly 10 for the majority of their innings, well north of the requisite 7.85. In the midst of a indifferent season, Mumbai have beaten the most dominant team twice and that confidence will be vital as they still need to win their two remaining games by a considerable margin to stay alive.

A combination of strength and timing allowed Simmons to ease into his innings. Most of his strokes ended with an audacious flourish and it was clear that he knew and vehemently backed his strengths. At the presentation, he picked the slog-sweep as his favourite shot but there were better picks on offer. Sandeep Sharma was unable to conjure any swing and was bashed for three fours - cut through point, drilled past mid-on and scythed beyond extra cover's reach - in the very first over. Spin did not trouble him either as he managed singles and interspersed them with boundaries borne from good footwork.

Virender Sehwag had been similarly adventurous when Kings XI were asked to bat. His see-ball-hit-ball-forget-about-feet method fetched 23 runs after two overs, but a freak run-out left Sehwag ruing another start not capitalised on.

Manan Vohra and Shaun Marsh, playing his first game of the season in place of the rested David Miller, weathered a brief spell of swing with the new ball. Their prudence was rewarded when spin was introduced. There were cracks on the Mohali pitch, but initial waywardness from Shreyas Gopal and Pragyan Ojha cost 51 in four overs. With their most potent weapon, Glenn Maxwell, still in the shed, Kings XI were primed for another assault.

But as had happened in the previous encounter between the two sides, the middle order was stymied and then sent back. Krishmar Santokie broke the 64-run stand for the second wicket as Marsh holed out. Gopal's legspin was persisted with and the gamble proved dividends as Vohra and Maxwell were pried out.

A slow pitch and a sudden dearth of big-hitters pushed Kings XI into a prolonged state of caution. Noticeable acceleration took as late as the 18th over and George Bailey strove towards a score that might offer some justice to their start. The eventual 156 did not, nor was it good enough.

Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on May 23, 2014, 15:36 GMT

    Well done Simmo! Keep the runs coming.

  • Dummy4 on May 22, 2014, 11:03 GMT

    When Mumbai signed Simmons many said that were better players available locally. Simmo has been in good form and has carried this to this edition of the IPL . He along with many shot makers from the West Indies are tailor made for the T20 arena . First century in this years IPL and in a winning cause . .... Talk Nah !

  • Dummy4 on May 22, 2014, 10:51 GMT

    Miller is FAR more valuable than Marsh.... you go on current value and talent, not historical form and reputations.... it is t20 too... Miller can bowl... all teams must play their all-rounders, including DD playing Neesham. That's why they are last - poor balance.

  • Naresh on May 22, 2014, 7:01 GMT

    Praveen Kumar should be selected to play for India. His bowling in the right conditions can be effective. He is more like Bhuvi. This IPL has showed up new Indian talent. Sandeep Sharma needs to be nurtured and maybe with experience could be an asset.

  • Koshal on May 22, 2014, 6:53 GMT

    Rajsthan Royals are almost sure to go in even if they loose both matches as long as they dont loose by more than 70 runs total. Seems improbable if not impossible

  • Android on May 22, 2014, 4:47 GMT

    MI is a excellently well oiled unit and the only flaw has been the late start up ! The way they are playing the last two matches at their home turf should give them wins !

  • Lian on May 22, 2014, 4:41 GMT

    @Suja59 KXIP have not relied on M&M show for a lot of the recent matches, and a lot of the batsmen have stood up and KXIP have been able to score well. The whole batting line-up has done well, which makes me annoyed that people keep on saying that KXIP rely only on the M&M show throughout. The pairing have really only performed well together in like 3-4 games, but it was such memorable performances that makes people feel that KXIP is nothing without them, which isn't the case. Sure they are KXIP's 2 best batsmen, but to continually hear that KXIP is all about Maxwell and Miller is not fair on the other players, like Patel, Sandeep, Viru, Vohra, Dhawan, Balaji, Saha, Johnson and Bailey who have all stood up and done particularly well when required. And as for the KXIP bowlers, they have performed well throughout the tournament. They have had a few off days but I'm sure they will bounce back as a bowling unit.

  • Cricket on May 22, 2014, 4:31 GMT

    Calm down. KXIP was bound to have bad days and its good that they are getting through them before the playoffs. Maxwell couldn't possibly go the way he has in every game but if your remember, he made a blistering 43 just two games ago. This is not a drop in form or a matter of him being figured out. He plays attacking cricket from ball one. That is just how he is and why he has been so successful. Sehwag's runout was unfortunate and Vohra looked like he was taking on the anchor role. Unfortunate to lose both Vohra and Marsh so quickly together but it was nice to see Bailey lead Punjab to a decent score. KXIP just needs to let forget these bad days and focus on regrouping and taking winning momentum into the playoffs. They need one win to finish in the top two and should hope to win the last two just to keep the spirits up. Johnson can come back in the next match, the Mohali pitch suits him. Miller vs Marsh can be seen and that is the only real question now.

  • Anver on May 22, 2014, 4:25 GMT

    Simmon's ton could have come much much earlier, had MI skipper Rohit supported by giving him the strike during nineties... even when he got out caught at 3rd man, the batsmen have not crossed & again Simmon was denied the strike. In the end the fellow countryman Pollard helped him to get this finest & the first ton in IPL-2014 !!

  • Azizul on May 22, 2014, 4:22 GMT

    Wish a last two ball finish of the match and kkr's win. Considering the current scenario they are more deserving than anybody else.

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