The West Indian smashes 14 fours and two sixes in his 61-ball knock

Lendl Simmons stole the thunder with a scintillating 61-ball 100, singlehandedly powering Mumbai Indians to a morale-boosting seven-wicket win over table topper Kings XI Punjab in the IPL-7 here on Wednesday night.

Simmons smashed 14 fours and two sixes during his unbeaten knock as the visitors chased down the target of 157 with an over to spare and keep their hopes alive in the tournament. Simmons’ was the first three-figure score in this edition of the T20 league.

This was Mumbai Indians’ fifth win in 11 matches while Kings XI Punjab has already assured itself a place in the playoffs.

Simmons was on the ball right away, hitting medium pacer Sandeep Sharma for three fours in the innings’ first over at the PCA Stadium.

Beuran Hendricks was given a similar treatment, the bowler being picked for three more boundaries as the 29-year-old Simmons raced to 33 off just 16 balls.

The onslaught continued and none of the Kings XI Punjab bowlers had any clue about where to bowl to the marauding West Indian.

Shivam Sharma and Rishi Dhawan were smashed for 19 and 17 runs respectively in their first two overs. Dhawan, though, made a comeback to finish with figures of one for 30 in four overs, respectable in the face of such onslaught. Akshar Patel had one for 27 in his four.

Silent partner

With Simmons in such a mood, his opening partner Mike Hussey was not needed to do anything and when he got out the experienced Australian had just six runs to his name in a partnership of 68 that came in seven overs.

Mumbai Indians lost Ambati Rayudu after that but Simmons was unperturbed as he continued to torment the Kings XI bowlers. Simmons had added 43 runs with Rayudu before the Indian got out.

When Sandeep Sharma was brought back, he was hit for a massive six, which was Simmons’ second, the first coming against Shivam.

With Mumbai Indians needing less than 50 runs with plenty of overs to go, Rohit Sharma joined hands with Simmons to take his side to victory before the skipper was dismissed by Hendricks. Kieron Pollard hit a six, after Simmons reached his century with a flick, to finish off the game.

Earlier, Kings XI Punjab recovered from a middle-order collapse to post a challenging 156 for eight.

Skipper George Bailey top-scored with 39 while Manan Vohra and Shaun Marsh contributed 36 and 30 respectively.

Sent into bat, Kings XI Punjab was strongly placed at 90 for two after the first 10 overs, but lost its way after that before Bailey anchored the innings.

For Mumbai Indians, Jasprit Bumrah (two for 31) and Shreyas Gopal (two for 32) were the most successful bowlers.

Unfortunate dismissal

Kings XI Punjab was off with a bang as Virender Sehwag launched the innings with a couple of sixes — the first one soaring over extra cover before the batsman dispatched a slower one straight over the bowler’s head.

But the opener’s innings was cut short when he was run out in unfortunate circumstances. Praveen Kumar who, after the ball hit non-striker Manan Vohra’s foot, ran back to knock the bails off.

In came Shaun Marsh and, in the season’s first appearance, raced to 30 off just 17 balls with the help of two sixes and as many fours. Vohra too went along nicely to keep the run rate healthy.

But the 64-run partnership between Vohra and Marsh ended when the Aussie was bowled by Krishmar Santokie while going for a heave.

That triggered a collapse, including the big one of Glenn Maxwell to Shreyas Gopal, as Kings XI Punjab stuttered to 116 for six by the 17th over.

Scoreboard

Kings XI Punjab: Virender Sehwag run out 17 (11b, 1x4, 2x6), Manan Vohra b Shreyas 36 (34b, 4x4, 1x6), Shaun Marsh c Pollard b Santokie 30 (17b, 2x4, 2x6), Glenn Maxwell c & b Shreyas 2 (3b), George Bailey c Rayudu b Bumrah 39 (30b, 2x4, 2x6), Wriddhiman Saha run out 3 (8b), Akshar Patel c Rohit b Praveen 6 (6b, 1x4), Rishi Dhawan (not out) 14 (9b, 2x4), Beuran Hendricks b Bumarh 0 (1b), Shivam Sharma (not out) 1 (1b), Extras (lb-5, w-3) 8; Total (for eight wickets in 20 overs) 156.

Fall of wickets: 1-23 (Sehwag), 2-87 (Marsh), 3-92 (Vohra), 4-93 (Maxwell), 5-105 (Saha), 6-116 (Akshar), 7-154 (Bailey), 8-155 (Hendricks).

Mumbai Indians bowling: Praveen Kumar 4-0-20-1, Krishmar Santokie 4-0-40-1, Jasprit Bumrah 4-0-31-2, Pragyan Ojha 4-0-28-0, Shreyas Gopal 4-0-32-2.

Mumbai Indians: Lendl Simmons (not out) 100 (61b, 14x4, 2x6), Michael Hussey b Akshar 6 (13b), Ambati Rayudu c Sehwag b Dhawan 17 (14b), Rohit Sharma c Sandeep b Hendricks 18 (20b, 2x4), Kieron Pollard (not out) 8 (6b, 1x6), Extras (w-10) 10; Total (for three wickets in 19 overs) 159.

Fall of wickets: 1-68 (Hussey), 2-111 (Rayudu), 3-148 (Rohit).

Kings XI Punjab bowling: Sandeep Sharma 3-0-37-0, Beuran Hendricks 4-0-33-1 , Akshar Patel 4-0-27-1, Rishi Dhawan 4-0-30-1, Shivam Sharma 4-0-32-0.

Man-of-the-Match: Lendl Simmons

Mumbai Indians won by seven wickets and with an over to spare