Mohali: Lendl Simmons stole the thunder with a scintillating 61-ball 100, singlehandedly powering Mumbai Indians to a morale-boosting seven-wicket win over table toppers Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League here tonight.
Simmons smashed 14 fours and two sixes during his unbeaten knock as the visitors chased down the target of 157 with an over to spare and keep their hopes alive in the tournament. Simmons' was the first three-figure score in this edition of the T20 league.
This was Mumbai Indians' fifth win in 11 matches while Kings XI Punjab had already assured themselves a place in the playoffs.
Simmons was on the ball right away, hitting medium pacer Sandeep Sharma for three fours in the innings' first over at the PCA Stadium.
Beuran Hendricks was given a similar treatment, the bowler being picked for three more boundaries as the 29-year-old Simmons raced to 33 off just 16 balls.
The onslaught continued and none of the Kings XI Punjab bowlers had any clue about where to bowl to the marauding West Indian.
Shivam Sharma and Rishi Dhawan were smashed for 19 and 17 runs respectively in their first two overs. Dhawan, though, made a comeback to finish with figures of 1/30 in four overs, respectable in the face of such onslaught. Akshar Patel had 1/27 in his four.
With Simmons in such a mood, his opening partner Mike Hussey was not needed to do anything and when he got out the experienced Australian had just six runs to his name in a partnership of 68 that came in seven overs.
Mumbai Indians lost Ambati Rayudu after that but Simmons was unperturbed as he continued to torment the Kings XI bowlers. Simmons had added 43 runs with Rayudu before the Indian got out.
When Sandeep Sharma was brought back, he was hit for a massive six, which was Simmons' second, the first coming against Shivam.
With Mumbai Indians needing less than 50 runs with plenty of overs to go, Rohit Sharma joined hands with Simmons to take his side to victory before the skipper was dismissed by Hendricks. Kieron Pollard hit a six, after Simmons reached his century with a flick, to finish off the game.