In-form West Indies batsman Lendl Simmons smashed the first century of the Indian Premier League (IPL) yesterday to give Mumbai Indians a slim chance of advancing to the play-off stage of the competition.
Simmons played shots all over the park to complete an unbeaten even century, leading a run chase that swept Mumbai to a seven-wicket victory over Kings XI Punjab, the current table toppers.
The attacking Trinidadian batsman hit 14 fours and two sixes from the 61 balls he faced to carry Mumbai safely to 159 off 18 overs after Punjab scored 156 for eight in their 20 overs at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium.
On his way, Simmons, who played a number of cut shots, accounted for 55 of the opening partnership’s 68. He unleashed an array of slog-sweeps and lashes down the ground to maintain a run-rate of nearly ten for the majority of their innings.
Mumbai could have secured victory earlier but delayed the momentum to ensure Simmons moved into triple digits. Once the single was taken for Simmons to reach the landmark, his countryman Kieron Pollard immediately slammed the final ball of the 18th over into the crowd beyond long-on.
Simmons’ century knock would have inspired Mumbai, who recorded their fifth win in seven matches in India, lifting them to fifth on the table. Despite beating the most dominant team twice this season, Mumbai still need to win their two remaining games by a considerable margin to stay alive.
Earlier, Kings XI Punjab recovered after a middle-order collapse to post a competitive total. Skipper George Bailey top-scored with 39 while Manan Vohra and Shaun Marsh contributed 36 and 30 respectively.
Kings XI were strongly placed at 90 for two after the first 10 overs but a batting collapse ensued after West Indian seamer Krishmar Santokie bowled Marsh to finish with one wicket for 40 runs.
Mumbai Indians 159 for 3 (Simmons 100*) vs Kings XI Punjab 156 for 8 (Bailey 39, Vohra 36, Gopal 2-32) –Mumbai Indians won by seven wickets