Kolkata: Skipper Rohit Sharma sizzled with a 26-ball 50 while Lendl Simmons produced a fiery 68 as Mumbai Indians posted a huge 202 for five against Chennai Super Kings in the IPL summit clash, here today.
The MI skipper, who has an ODI world record of 264 and also a debut Test hundred at the Eden Gardens, yet again exploded at his favourite venue.
Sharma slammed his third IPL fifty this season while Simmons was again consistent with a 45-ball 68 his sixth half-century as the duo put on a handsome 119 from 67 balls.
After the duo's dismissal in successive balls, Ambati Rayudu (36 not out) and Kieron Pollard (36) put on 71 runs from 40 balls for the fourth wicket to power them to a 200-plus total in pursuit of their second title.
Put in, the start however was ominous for MI who were reduced to 1/1 in the first over after Faf du Plessis produced a gem of a run out to dismiss Parthiv Patel for a duck.
The South African dived, got hold of the ball and flicked it while being air-borne and the magical throw was enough to clip the bails off to bring an end to Patel's fine run as an opener.
In came Sharma and after two dot balls, he went in counter-attacking mode hitting Mohit Sharma over third man with an elegant uppercut.
He survived a brief scare when he in inside edged one but the ball missed the stumps by a whisker as boundaries and sixes flew from his blade. He not only timed the shots to perfection but the placements were clinical too.
Sharma raced to 25 runs from 10 balls and Windies big-hitter Lendl Simmons at one point looked a mute spectator at the other end.
Dhoni kept bowling left-arm pacer Nehra who bowled three overs at a stretch without any success. R Ashwin was introduced in the fourth over but there was little help for the wily off-spinner who bowled a noball and this time Simmons broke loose.
The MI duo raced to 50 in 28 balls and the powerplay yielded a handsome 61/1 as they complemented each other nicely.With Simmons starting to take charge, Sharma slowed down a bit and rotated the strike cleverly giving his partner maximum opportunity. The Windies big hitter targeted Dhoni's spin duo of Ashwin and Negi with massive sixes.
Nothing going in their way, Simmons was dropped by Negi on 48 as he raced to fifty ahead of Sharma in 35 balls.Sharma drove Dwayne Bravo for a boundary to notch his 50 from 25 balls but only to be dismissed softly in the next ball hitting straight to Jadeja at long-on.
Such agonising was the partnership for CSK that Dhoni and Co huddled soon after Sharma's dismissal and skipper opted part-timer Dwyane Smith to bowl the next over.
Dhoni's magic worked straightway as Simmons followed suit after being bowled in Smith's first ball—a slow yorker that he misjudged—to make them 120/3 in 12.1 overs.
The twin blow however proved to be too little too late as Rayudu and Pollard propelled to a handsome total.