Mumbai Indians recovered well to score 171 for four © IANS (File Photo)
Mumbai Indians recovered well to score 171 for four © IANS (File Photo)

Hardik Pandya‘s half-century helped Mumbai Indians (MI) post 171 for four against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2015. At 79 for four in the 12th over, MI were in serious trouble in a crunch game when Pandya walked out to change the complexion of the game. In 31 balls, he smashed an unbeaten 61 — an innings that truly showcased his talent. His partnership of 92 runs with Kieron Pollard helped MI put up the good total. Live Blog: Mumbai Indians vs Kolkata Knight Riders, IPL 2015

On winning the toss, Gautam Gambhir chose to bowl first. Shakib Al Hasan returned to the camp and was included in the side as Johan Botha was benched. Also, the extra bounce on the surface meant that they brought back Morne Morkel in place of Brad Hogg. So, KKR had three spinners in their side instead of the four they fielded in the last few games. Live Scorecard: Mumbai Indians vs Kolkata Knight Riders, IPL 2015

KKR managed to keep MI in check. MI lost three wickets early in the game and were on the backfoot. Rohit Sharma was going along well and playing some great shots. He had moved to a 21-ball 30, when Sunil Narine castled him with a great wrong-un that squared him up. That is when Pandya and Pollard came together and managed to script together a fighting stand.

Pollard was quite sedate to start with. He had to curb his natural instincts and tried to get his eye in. Shakib had an impact on comeback as he took two wickets for only 27 runs. Pollard had to be measured and made his way to 33 off 38 balls with one four and a six. Pandya was the catalyst of MI’s charge. Off the 17th over bowled by Umesh Yadav, Pandya attacked and picked four consecutive fours.

Pandya showed his clean hitting skills through his stay. Some of the best shots he played were through mid-wicket. Using his power, he carted Narine for a massive six over mid-wicket. Later, Russell was smashed over the same area for another. When it was full, Pandya was ready to flay his arms and send it through to the boundary. His 26-ball fifty upstaged Pollard, which speaks about his effort.

KKR did not have the perfect day on the field. There were a couple of misfields and a dropped chance. Luckily, that dropped chance did not cost them much as Parthiv Patel was dismissed soon after. To confirm their berth in the playoffs, KKR will now have to chase this score down. It would also help them go to the top of the IPL 2015 points table.

Brief scores:

Mumbai Indians 171 for 4 in 20 overs (Kieron Pollard 32*, Hardik Pandya 61*; Shakib Al Hasan 2 for 27) vs Kolkata Knight Riders.

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(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_45)