Lendl Simmons’s electrifying knock (100 not out, 61b, 14x4, 2x6) flattened Kings XI Punjab and gave a new lease of life to Mumbai Indians in IPL-7.
The Trinidadian has been quietly making some runs in the competition, but on Wednesday night he exploded into action and was chiefly responsible for table topper Kings XI’s third defeat.
Virtually out of the running for a play-off berth, the last year title winner’s hopes of advancing to the second stage of the tournament hangs by a slender thread.
It has not exactly been a roller coaster ride for KXIP and CSK so far and after 12 matches these two have secured their place for the play-offs and Rajasthan Royals and KKR too have demonstrated the resolve to outwit other teams in quest of making the last four.
After a slippery start in the UAE-leg this season, MI has carried out changes in the team; one of which was to summon Simmons for Jalaj Saxena.
It also changed the batting order and eventually managed to win two matches in a row (for the second time in 12 matches) against the Rajasthan Royals and KXIP.
Both wins came without linchpin Lasith Malinga. Mid-way through the competition MI lost Zaheer Khan due to injury, but the absence of Malinga and Khan gave MI to open up opportunities for, Praveen Kumar, the Jamaican left-arm seamer Krishmar Santokie and Karnataka leg- spinner Shreyas Gopal.
The nub of the MI story has been that without Dwayne Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Johnson (all last season’s match winners) it has been inconsistent. It is now hoping for a miracle.
“We had the team to put up performances like as we did today (against KXIP). We hope to win the last two home matches, reach 14 points and hope for the best,” said MI captain Rohit Sharma after the Simmons-powered win at Mohali.
The Daredevils which has lost ten and won two can upset MI’s calculations. It has a quality batting line up.
“We have to put up a good performance. Every individual takes responsibility for the team’s performance. Through all our defeats we have stuck together as a team. We are a new squad of players, it just has not clicked. It’s not an excuse though. I had a reasonably good performance,” said Jean Paul Duminy, DD’s highest scorer with 357 runs.