Explosive Simmons, Pollard drives Mumbai into the playoffs

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DELHI, India, May 6, CMC – Compatriots Lendl Simmons and Kieron Powell accepted individual challenges and hit explosive half-centuries to propel Mumbai Indians into the playoffs of the Indian Premier League following a commanding, record 146-run victory over Delhi Daredevils on Saturday.
Simmons, playing his first match of the tournament, hit 66 from 43 balls and fellow Trinidad & Tobago and West Indies batsman Kieron Pollard, promoted to No.3, smote 63 not out from 35 balls, as the Indians posted 212 for three from their allocation of 20 overs, after they were put in to bat at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium.
The Daredevils, whose line-up included West Indies batsman Marlon Samuels, who was dismissed for one, surrendered without even as much as a whimper, updating their lowest IPL total for the second time in the space of six days.
They were five down in the chase before the Power Play was done and bowled out for their lowest IPL total of 66 in 13.4 overs two nights after achieving the second highest run chase to lose by an IPL record margin.
Karun Nair hit the top score of 21 for the Daredevils, but no other batsman reached 20, as leg-spinner Karn Sharma took 3-11 from 3.4 overs, discarded India international off-spinner Harbhajan Singh grabbed 3-22 from four overs and Sri Lanka fast bowler Lasith Malinga captured 2-5 from two overs to undermine their batting.
Earlier, Simmons, later named Player-of-the-Match, and Pollard both struck five fours and four sixes to be the rocks upon which the Indians built their total.
“I think I’ve been practicing hard,” said Simmons. “I’ve been hitting the gym, keeping my fitness up, waiting for the opportunity. It came [in this match] and I took it with both hands. I’m good as a replacement player, it’s been good for me.
“Batting in the Powerplay and with Parthiv Patel is always good. My game plan is to see off the first two overs and then back my shots. At first it was a bit slow, but dew came on, and then the shots were easy to play.
“Batting with Pollard is good. We are accustomed playing together. We didn’t have a total in mind, we just had a mind towards keeping the run-rate up and not losing wickets at crucial times.”
Simmons dominated an opening stand of 79 with Patel which rattled on at better than nine runs an over, but Patel was stumped off India international leg-spinner Amit Mishra in the ninth over before the West Indian was caught at backward square leg by Samuels off New Zealander Corey Anderson in the 13th over.
Mumbai were 112 for two, but Pollard ensured the Daredevils would chase a total in excess of 200 with some memorable power-hitting down the stretch.

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