Mumbai: Hardik Pandya blitzed his way to an unbeaten 61 as Mumbai Indians recovered from a poor start to post a competitive 171 for four against Kolkata Knight Riders in their must-win IPL cricket match at the Wankhede Stadium here on Thursday.
Pandya, who came after the fall of captain Rohit Sharma, slammed 2 sixes and 8 fours in his 31-ball whirlwind knock and added an unbroken 92 runs in 51 balls for the fifth wicket with Pollard (33 not out) to resurrect Mumbai after they were reduced to 79-4 in 11.4 overs.
Put in to bat, MI were put on the back foot within the power play period when they lost both openers Parthiv Patel (21) and Lendl Simmons (14).
After the rare failure of the consistent Ambati Rayudu that left MI at a difficult 47 for 3, Sharma and West Indian Pollard did some repair work but the dismissal of the captain put the brakes again.
But Pandya took the KKR bowling by the scruff and smashed the ball around. He struck Umesh Yadav for four fours in the 17th over before reaching his half century with a six off Andre Russell in 25 balls.
Former Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan, returning to the tournament after a month's gap because of national duty, did the star turn for the defending champions with a two-wicket haul for 22 with his crafty left-arm spin.
South African Morne Morkel (1 for 27) and Narine (1 for 38) were the other wicket takers.
Openers Patel and Simmons started steadily before Shakib drew first blood by taking out the former who was caught flicking at deep mid wicket.
Left-handed Patel, who made a brisk 21 off 14 balls, hit the slow bowler for a four but departed off the next as his flick did not have the power to go over Manish Pandey.
Simmons, who played very well in making a fine 68 in the previous game here against Royal Challengers Bangalore, could not repeat the feat and was also out cheaply, caught at point while slashing Morkel's short ball to leave MI at 42 for 2 with two balls remaining in power play.
More trouble lay in store for MI as the consistent Rayudu too played a poor shot off Shakib and was caught in the deep, leaving the hosts at a poor 47 for 3 in the 8th over.
Captain Sharma and Pollard took the score to 79 with the former looking in good nick when mystery West Indian spinner Narine struck a major blow by clean bowling Sharma.
Sharma, who had square cut the previous ball for a four, had no clue of the next ball as he played defensively down the wrong line and got cleaned up. He made 30 off 21 balls laced with five hits to the fence.
Pollard and Pandya then came together to MI's rescue. The latter reached his half century with a six over mid wicket off Russell. The last five overs yielded 72 runs.