RAIPUR

Mumbai Indians kept their qualifying chances alive with a much superior performance in two departments - batting and bowling - after their loss to Lahore Lions, and surpassed Southern Express’ score of 161 with 22 balls to spare, losing only one wicket. Kieron Pollard’s words during the toss of wanting to restrict Express and then give his batsmen a better chance of scoring, by chasing, came true as the bowlers also did not have to bowl with any dew or a damp outfield in an attempt to defend a score.

If Mumbai had lost today, they would have slipped to bottom of the table and the other three teams would have had at least one win each. Mumbai and Lions now have four points each, behind Northern Knights’ eight, and Express are at the bottom and still have a chance of qualifying with one game to go on Tuesday.

The Mumbai openers, Lendl Simmons and Michael Hussey, made up for the poor bowling and sloppy fielding in the slog overs with a dominating stand of 139 in under 15 overs. They started cautiously, playing mostly along the ground initially, and found gaps incisively to score 39 in the Powerplay. Hussey was slow early on and Simmons farmed most of the strike, finding boundaries with flicks and drives even though left-arm seamer Charith Jayampathi swung the ball. Once both batsmen were set and the ball stopped moving around, they started taking the aerial routes and found the gaps more regularly.

Jehan Mubarak tried to break the stand with Seekkuge Prasanna in the ninth over but Simmons smashed him out the attack straightaway. Hussey, who was going at run-a-ball till then, shifted gears by using his feet and struck two sixes and a four within four deliveries to nearly overtake his partner.

The equation was down to 60 from 48 an over later and the two batsmen only strengthened their grip on the chase from there with their fifties. Hussey fell in the 15th over to a slog sweep but Pollard hit a six on his first ball and finished the chase with two more in the 17th over to give his side four points.

Pollard used his bowlers to good effect in the first half of the innings after electing to bowl. Harbhajan Singh stifled them early on, with a maiden in the Powerplay. Jasprit Bumrah bettered his lengths and removed Kusal Perera, who tried to up the run rate, which was under three after three overs.

Danushka Gunathilaka was not as scratchy as yesterday and ironically increased the run rate as soon as the Powerplay, which saw 27 runs and a wicket, was over, taking 12 runs from Shreyas Gopal’s first over. But Express lost too many batsmen to slogs or lofted shots, including a well-set Gunathilaka, who tried to slog against Jalaj Saxena’s offspin to fall for 30. Wickets kept tumbling for Express even though they were hitting the occasional boundary.

Seekkugge Prasanna brought them back briefly and set the platform for Maharoof with two consecutive sixes off Shreyas in the 12th over, taking the run rate to nearly seven. Maharoof’s 22-ball 41 propelled them to a competitive 161 in the end. He didn’t hit a boundary in his first 14 deliveries, was dropped on 6, and then targeted Ojha and Malinga.

He unleashed reverse sweeps against Ojha and cashed in on the full deliveries from Malinga in the last over, collecting 10 from the last two balls. Express were also helped by Mumbai sloppy fielding in the outfield and three drops which helped them amass 59 runs in the last five overs.

Scoreboard

SOUTHERN EXPRESS:

J Perera c Gopal b Bumrah    8

MD Gunathilaka c Harbhajan b Jalaj    30

A Lanka c Rayudu b Pollard    9

J Mubarak b Ojha    16

A Perera b Malinga    28

S Prasanna run out    15

F Maharoof not out    41

D Perera not out    0

EXTRAS: (b4, lb3, w4, nb3)    14

TOTAL: (6 wkts; 20 overs)    161

FOW: 1-13, 2-40, 3-50, 4-65, 5-90, 6-148

BOWLING: Harbhajan Singh 4-1-18-0, J Bumrah 3-0-23-1, L Malinga-4-0-28-1, S Gopal 2-0-29-0, K Pollard 2-0-18-1, Jalaj Saxena 1-0-3-1, P Ojha 4-0-35-1

MUMBAI INDIANS:

L Simmons not out    76

M Hussey c A Perera b Pathirana    60

K Pollard not out    20

EXTRAS: (lb1, w8)    9

TOTAL: (1 wkt; 16.2 overs)    165

FOW: 1-139

BOWLING: W Jayampathi 3-0-14-0, F Maharoof 3-0-39-0, H Jayaratne 4-0-38-0, D Perera 3-0-28-0, S Prasanna 2-0-19-0, S Pathirana 1.2-0-26-1

TOSS: Mumbai Indians

UMPIRES: AK Chaudhary, C Shamshuddin

TV UMPIRE: K Srinath

MATCH REFEREE: R Jadeja