Guptill screamer helps keep Kings XI alive

Saha stuck an unbeaten 93 in 55 balls to help his team post a mammoth 230 for 3.

Saha said that team approached the remaining games with "nothing to lose" attitude and its helping them. With everything to play for, Kings XI Punjab defeated the likes of Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Mumbai Indians (MI) in their last two games and are on the brink of a playoff berth.

Mumbai were left needing 16 from the final over and there was controversy after the first ball as Pollard was called for one short as he looked to keep the strike, with suggestions that he had done so deliberately.

The loss of Karn Sharma (19 from six deliveries) put an end to that as the Indians finished at 6-223 to keep Punjab's finals hopes alive.

The skipper also sent two overs down for just eight runs, taking the vital wicket of Lendl Simmons in the process.

Saha and captain Glenn Maxwell kept the runs flowing with a 63-run stand before Maxwell was clean bowled by Jasprit Bumrah for a 21-ball 47. Before this, Gujarat Lions had posted 214/3 against Delhi Daredevils in this edition.

Kings XI set off at a blistering pace after being put in to bat, Martin Guptill setting the tone by hitting the first ball of the innings for four.

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Pollard stayed on until the end, but two fine overs from Sandeep Sharma and Mohit Sharma saw Punjab win after a tense finish.

Just when the game appeared on the line, with Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya blasting the Punjab seamers to all corners of the Wankhede, Saha dived full length to his right to snare an exceptional two-handed catch off the outside edge of Pandya's bat.

In the ninth over, off spinner Harbhajan was hit for three sixes by Maxwell as Punjab batsman continued to dominate the Mumbai bowlers.

Simmons' innings of 59 was culled by a sensational catch by Guptill at long-on; the New Zealander timed his jump to perfection and was suspended in flight when he plucked the ball out of thin air.

In the batting department, opener Parthiv Patel along with Jos Buttler, Rohit Sharma, Nitesh Rana and Hardik Pandya are going through a purple patch that will surely help the visitors in outplaying the hosts.

Despite Guptill's heroics, the Indians refused to go away as Pollard took control before some accurate death bowling from Mohit Sharma ensured Kings XI secured the result. The spin trio of Maxwell, Axar Patel and Rahul Tewatia dried up the runs in the middle period of play and were chiefly in bringing their team back in the contest; between them, the spin troika picked up three wickets in seven overs, while only conceding 53 runs.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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