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Wriddhi effort in vain

Mumbai: Defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) finally snapped their losing streak on the back of a collective batting effort as they defeated Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) by five wickets in an Indian Premier League VII match, here, on Friday.

Kieron Pollard smashed Sandeep Sharma for a six over long-off in the first ball of the final over as MI surged past KXIP’s score of 168 for 5.

Pollard remained unconquered on 28 off 12 balls and put on 44 runs in only 15 balls for the unbroken sixth-wicket partnership with Aditya Tare (16 off 6 balls) at the Wankhede Stadium.

Prior to their quick-fire partnership, MI were put on the victory path by significant contributions from opener C. Gautam (33), skipper Rohit Sharma (39) and Corey Anderson (35). The dismissal of Rohit and Anderson in successive overs brought Punjab back into the game but Pollard and Tare batted superbly to shatter their hopes.

It was MI’s first win in six games. It was also their first game at home in this edition and they have now extended their winning run at this venue to nine since the last edition.

It was KXIP’s first defeat after a glorious winning streak of five out of five. MI, though, didn’t make a great start to their innings as they lost opener Ben Dunk in the fifth ball of the innings. Ambati Rayudu was also out with the score on 33.

Dunk was caught brilliantly by a diving Wriddhiman Saha behind the wicket off the bowling of Sandeep Sharma. Sandeep also accounted for Rayudu by trapping the batsman in front with a ball that moved in sharply and also kept low.

Gautam, promoted in the order in yet another new opening combination for the title holders, and Rohit Sharma then repaired the innings with a stand of 47. After the Powerplay, MI were 49 for two. MI lost their third wicket at the score of 70 when Rishi Dhawan dismissed Gautam.

Earlier, Wriddhiman Saha cracked his maiden half-century to help KXIP compile a challenging score after they opted to bat first.

Wriddhiman started slowly but then gained in confidence in the company of the in-form Glenn Maxwell, who slammed a quickfire 45 in 27 balls, to remain unconquered on 59 in 47 balls.