© BCCI
© BCCI

Wriddhiman Saha played a brilliant unbeaten knock off 93 off just 55 deliveries, thus playing a pivotal role in Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) victory over Mumbai Indians (MI) by 7-runs at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai. Riding on Saha and Glenn Maxwell’s (47 off 21), KXIP amassed 230 runs losing just 3 wickets. But MI gave a tough fight right from the start as Lendl Simmons (59) and Kieron Pollard (50) nearly brought home the victory. Eventually, Mumbai Indians fell short of by 7 runs. MI despite having lost this game are at the top position in IPL 2017 points with 18 points and with the berth for playoffs already booked. But KXIP have kept their hopes alive of qualifying for the playoffs after winning back-to-back games against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and MI. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Mumbai Indians (MI) vs Kings XI Punjab (KXIP), IPL 2017 Match 51

Talking in the post-match presentation ceremony, Saha, who was adjudged Man of the Match, spoke about the attacking plan him and Martin Guptill (36) opted for in the Powerplay. He said, “Our job was to go hard in the first 6 overs and the plan was to rotate strike if we did not get big shots. We had the momentum so Maxwell too asked me to go for shots. Once we got 100 in 8 overs, we always wanted to cross 200. We thought 220 was a par score. I am ready to bat at any slot. The ultimate goal is to win for the team.”

During MI’s batting, the game was slipping away from KXIP’s hand as Pollard and Hardik Pandya were hitting hue sixes all around the park. Pollard and Pandya scored 55 runs in 21 deliveries almost pulling off an historic run-chase. But disciplined bowling towards the end from Mohit Sharma (2 for 57) and Sandeep Sharma (1 for 42) dished out the victory for KXIP.

“Pollard was a touch tired so yorkers were good options. Mohit tried his knuckle balls but when it did not work, he switched back to yorkers. When boundaries are being hit, I anyway do not get to keep balls. The only goal was to gather whatever came my way. But I thought taking the catch of Hardik Pandya was one of the key moments. We have nothing to lose, we will give it all in our next game. We would like to replicate our performance from the last two games,” Saha added.

For KXIP to qualify for the playoffs, Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) will have to undergo defeat against Delhi Daredevils (DD) on May 12 and win their last group stage game against RPS on May 14. But if RPS manage to win against DD, KXIP will be thrown out of the contention.