West Indies and Trinidad and Tobago batsman Lendl Simmons has signed up with the struggling Mumbai Indians after the India Premier League (IPL) technical committee approved him as a replacement for Jalaj Saxena. Saxena had been ruled out the season after sustaining a finger injury in his right hand during a training session.
Simmons, who has played close to 100 international matches for West Indies, had a stellar season with Guyana Amazon Warriors in last year’s Caribbean Premier League, where he emerged as the team’s highest run-getter with 263 runs, from nine matches, to power them into the final which they eventually lost against Jamaica Tallawahs.
Since then, however, Simmons’ form has tailed off a little in the shortest format. He managed just 77 runs from five matches in the Champions League Twenty20 for Trinidad & Tobago, and was just as indifferent in West Indies’ World T20 campaign, where he scored just 88 runs in five innings.
He joins fellow T&T player Kieron Pollard on the Mumbai line-up and will be a welcome boost to the team’s batting which has struggled to put runs on the board so far this season. Mumbai have lost all their matches so far in the competition and are rooted at the bottom of the IPL table.
Simmons is likely to be available for Mumbai Indians’ next match, against Sunrisers Hyderabad today as they try to revive their campaign.
Meanwhile Sunil Narine went wicket-less in Kolkata Knight Riders’ loss to the Rajasthan Royals in Abu Dhabi, yesterday. The Royals made 152 for five when they batted first with Ajinkya Rahane hitting 72. Narine bowled four overs for 28 runs.
In reply, Kolkata reached 152 for eight with Gautam Gambhir making 45. Kolkata needed only 16 off 12 balls with six wickets in hand when their middle and lower order capitulated against James Faulkner in the penultimate over.
The scores were tied at the end of Kolkata’s innings, leading to a Super Over. Kolkata would have been confident of Narine defending 12. A few days ago, individual brilliance from Chris Lynn had given Kolkata an improbable win, which sparked wild celebrations.
Yesterday, they experienced what it was like to be on the receiving end of such an unlikely result. With three needed to win off the last ball, Steven Smith played a smart dab into the vacant space at extra cover and ran an easy two, levelling the match again, and taking Rajasthan Royals to a thrilling win on the basis of a greater number of boundaries scored in the match.
Rajasthan Royals 152-5 (20 overs) (Ajinkya Rahane 72, Shane Watson 33, Sanju Samson 20, Steven Smith 19; Vinay Kumar 2/30) vs Kolkata Knight Riders 152-8 (20 overs) (Gautam Gambhir 45, Suryakumar Yadav 31, Shakib Al Hasan 29 n.o.; James Faulkner 3/11, Pravin Tambe 2/31)
—Match Tied, Rajasthan won by virtue of scoring more boundaries in the match