Mumbai: Rohit Sharma played a captain’s knock and struck an unbeaten 68, while Kieron Pollard smashed 51 not out in just 17 balls to power defending champions Mumbai Indians to a comfortable six-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders in an Indian Premier League match, on Thursday.
Rohit, who made 84 not out when the teams met in the first leg clash at Kolkata, continued to be the thorn in KKR’s flesh while Pollard took the game away with his whirlwind knock that contained six huge hits over the fence and two fours.
Rohit put on 72 runs in 30 balls for the unbroken fifth wicket with Pollard, who belted three sixes each in two overs as MI chased down the competitive score of 174 for five with two overs to spare.
Rohit had earlier put on 59 runs for the second wicket with Ambati Rayudu (32) to lay the platform for the mayhem that followed with Pollard hammering a string of towering sixes, including the winning hit off the hapless Jaydev Unadkat to finish off the match in brutal fashion.
It was MI’s 13th win in 18 head-to-head clashes against KKR and their fourth victory this season in eight appearances that boosted their points tally to eight. This was also two-time title-winners KKR’s second loss, both to MI, in six matches this season.
MI lost opener Parthiv Patel in the second over, caught behind by Yusuf Pathan off Jaydev Unadkat, but their two best batsmen of the season captain Rohit and one-down Rayudu – not only repaired the innings but also gave it the early momentum.
Rayudu set the tone by attacking Shakib Al Hasan, smacking the Bangladesh left-arm spinner for a four and a six in the third over before the two batsmen turned their attention on Umesh Yadav and Unadkat in successive overs.
Rohit struck two fours on the off-side off Yadav before smashing Unadkat over square leg for a six. Rayudu followed suit by pulling the left-arm pacer for three fours, including two identical steers to the third man fence, and the bowler gave away 19 runs in the sixth over at the end of which MI were ahead of the required run-rate with 64 on the board.