Shane Watson needed six stitches in his gashed knee after hauling the Chennai Super Kings agonisingly close to Indian Premier League glory.

The Mumbai Indians prevailed in last-ball drama, with Lasith Malinga holding his nerve to trap Shardul Thakur lbw and secure a one-run win.

Watson was run out for 80 in the final over and veteran team-mate Harbhajan Singh revealed he went above and beyond in Hyderabad.

A dark red patch became visible on Watson's right leg during his innings – the only factor that prevented the Australian all-rounder from keeping his struggles entirely under wraps.

"Can you guys see the blood on his knee [?] He got six stitches after the game ... got injured while diving but continue to bat without telling anyone," Harbhajan posted on his Instagram story.

"That's our @srwatson33. Almost pulled it [off] for us."

In a separate post, the off-spinner added: "Respect brother, what a LEGEND. @srwatson33 given (sic) sweat, blood and everything for the team. INSPIRING."

Watson finished the 2019 IPL campaign with 398 runs from his 17 matches at a strike rate of 127.56.

Jasprit Bumrah said Mumbai Indians never doubted their ability to claim a record fourth Indian Premier League title after they dethroned Chennai Super Kings in the most dramatic fashion.

CSK looked set to retain a trophy they have won three times when they needed nine off the last over to reach their victory target of 150 with Shane Watson at the crease.

MS Dhoni's side required four off two deliveries after Watson - man of the match in last year's final having smashed an unbeaten century - was run out for 80 off 59 balls when coming back for a second after he had been dropped twice by Rahul Chahar.

Lasith Malinga held his nerve by trapping Shardul Thakur leg before with a slower-ball yorker off the last delivery to seal victory two years after Mumbai were also crowned champions with a last-ball win.

Man of the match Bumrah, who removed Dwayne Bravo from a penultimate over that cost only nine runs and claimed 2-14, says self-belief was key to Mumbai coming out on top.

"I'm really happy, we always believed in our team," said the India paceman.

"Whenever we are in tough situations we back each other, stay close and have confidence in each and every individual. On a given day anybody can win us the game. It's a great feeling and we are really happy."

Kieron Pollard top scored with 41 not out off only 25 balls to get the Indians up to 149-8 and the all-rounder knew his knock could be decisive.

"These are the games you want to perform in, they are the games that people remember," said the West Indies international.

"Playing in so many finals, you know the most runs you get on the board, pressure is going to be on them. My aim was to try and stay in until the end. Then Bumrah and Malinga bowled brilliantly, taking the game away from CSK."

Lasith Malinga produced an outstanding exhibition of death bowling to secure a dramatic one-run win over Chennai Super Kings and seal a record fourth Indian Premier League title for Mumbai Indians.

Chennai needed only nine runs off the last over to retain their crown and become the first team to win the IPL four times, but Malinga held his nerve to deny MS Dhoni's side.

CSK required four to win off two balls after Shane Watson was run out for 80 having hesitated going for a second as the tension built in the final over in Hyderabad on Sunday.

Shardul Thakur struck the penultimate delivery for two, but was trapped leg before by the ice-cool Malinga off the final ball to spark huge celebrations from the Indians and their supporters.

There was nobody more relieved than Indians teenager Rahul Chahar, who dropped Watson on 42 and 55.

Deepak Chahar, Rahul's cousin, earlier took 3-26 and Imran Tahir claimed 2-23 to restrict Mumbai to 149-8, Kieron Pollard top scoring with 41 not out off 25 balls.

Watson was named man of the match after smashing an unbeaten century in last year's final against Sunrisers Hyderabad and looked set to see CSK home again, but fellow veteran Malinga was the hero on this occasion.

Chennai have now lost three out of four deciders they have played against Mumbai, who were worthy champions after being top at the end of the regular season.

After 56 games in the round-robin stage, plus an eliminator play-off and two qualifiers, Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings are the last two left standing in the Indian Premier League.

Both franchises have a fine pedigree when it comes to lifting the trophy; they have combined for six titles between them, including triumphing in three of the previous four seasons.

Mumbai were victorious in 2015 and 2017 but it is Chennai who are the defending champions, MS Dhoni's side overcoming Sunrisers Hyderabad in the 2018 final at the Indians' Wankhede Stadium.

However, Rohit Sharma's side have already beaten their opponents in the play-offs this year, as a six-wicket win in the qualifier secured them a place in the final.

Ahead of Sunday's showdown in Hyderabad, we pick out some of the key IPL facts with the help of Opta.

 

7 – Chennai have reached the final in seven of the previous eight seasons they have featured in. They are also looking to register back-to-back titles for a second time, having previously achieved the feat in 2010 and 2011.

3 – Mumbai have been crowned champions in three of the past six seasons. They have never won in successive years, however, and were last triumphant in 2017.

8 – In the last eight meetings between the teams, Chennai have been victorious just once. That run includes three defeats to the Indians in 2019.

1 – There has been one final previously at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad. Mumbai won on that occasion, beating Rising Pune Supergiant by one run in 2017.

173 – Chennai's Deepak Chahar (173) has registered more dot balls in this year's tournament than any other bowler. Of his 363 deliveries, only nine have been hit for six by opposing batsmen.

24 – Imran Tahir has claimed 24 wickets in 2019, putting him one behind fellow South Africa international Kagiso Rabada at the top of the charts.

84 - Suryakumar Yadav is a man in form with the bat for the Indians. His tally of 84 runs from flicked shots played on the leg side this term is 20 more than any other batsman.

Indian Premier League (IPL) team Mumbai Indians will oversee the entire rehabilitation process of Windies pace bowler Alzarri Joseph.

The 22-year-old got his IPL career off to a lightning quick start after claiming a historic 6 for 12 in 3.4 overs.  Tragedy, however, struck for the bowler soon after as he injured his shoulder while fielding for the team in the very next game. 

The damage not only ruled the player out of the rest of the IPL season but also out of the upcoming ICC World Cup.  Despite the bowler not taking part in the rest of the tournament, the club is willing to foot the entire recuperation bill.

  "He has been in Mumbai throughout and his situation was assessed, and the surgery was done on April 30. He is currently recovering and has no movement on the shoulder as it is strapped. One of his family members is here to stay by his side. All his treatment and rehab will be taken care of by MI. He will be shifting to the MI guest house in Navi Mumbai and continue physiotherapy for the next two to three months at the Sir H. N. Reliance Foundation Hospital,” a source familiar with the situation told IANS.

 "After this, he will undergo rehab and hit the ground at the Mumbai Indians academy. It should ideally take around four to five months and even his family member shall stay with him during this phase.”

 

Suryakumar Yadav's unbeaten half-century guided Mumbai Indians into a fifth Indian Premier League final as Chennai Super Kings were consigned to a six-wicket defeat.

Defending champions Chennai could only post 131-4 on a surface that had the spinners rubbing their hands together at MA Chidambaram Stadium on Tuesday.

Rahul Chahar (2-14) generated sharp turn as the Super Kings were reduced to 32-3, before Ambati Rayudu (42 not out) and MS Dhoni (37no) did their best to get the holders up to a respectable total.

Three-time champions Mumbai – who finished top of the table at the end of the regular season - lost both openers cheaply in reply but made it through to the decider in Hyderabad on May 12.

Yadav made 71 not out from 54 balls to get the 2017 champions home with nine balls to spare, two wickets in as many balls from Imran Tahir (2-33) coming too late in the day for Chennai.

The Super Kings will have another chance to qualify for the final when they take on the winner of the clash between Delhi Capitals and Sunrisers Hyderabad on Friday.

 

SUPER KINGS LEFT IN A SPIN

Dhoni did not get the start he was looking for after winning the toss and they were in trouble at the end of the mandatory powerplay.

Unsurprisingly, it was spin that did the early damage, Faf du Plessis slapping Chahar's first ball straight to substitute fielder Anmolpreet Singh at point and the in-form Suresh Raina following in the next over.

Krunal Pandya got in on the act by removing Shane Watson and the Super Kings were 65-4 in the 13th over when Murali Vijay (26) was stumped when beaten by a sharply turning delivery from Chahar.

Dhoni struck Lasith Malinga for back-to-back sixes as he and Rayudu attempted to inject some impetus with a stand of 66, but boundaries were hard to come by on such a tricky surface.

 

EARLY STRIKES OFFER HOPE

Deepak Chahar struck with the second ball of the run chase after watching his cousin do the damage in the first innings, trapping Rohit Sharma leg before.

Harbhajan Singh got in on the act by seeing the back of the dangerous Quinton de Kock, reducing their opponents to 21-2 in the fourth over.

Yadav and Ishan Kishan prevented more damage being done with a crucial third-wicket stand that put Mumbai well on course for victory.

 

TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE FROM TAHIR

Mumbai were coasting until Tahir ended the 80-run partnership by bowling Kishan (28) - the leg-spinner then immediately getting Krunal Pandya caught and bowled first ball to round out the 14th over.

Yadav was unperturbed by the losses at the other end, however, bringing up a half-century off 37 balls. He hit his 10th boundary to level the scores before sealing victory in the penultimate over.

Mumbai Indians became the third team to clinch a place in the Indian Premier League play-offs after a dramatic Super-Over win over Sunrisers Hyderabad on Thursday.

Chasing 163, Hyderabad batsman Manish Pandey had to hit the final ball of the 20th over beyond the rope to bring the scores level at the Wankhede Stadium - and he duly achieved the feat with a glorious drive down the ground.

Pandey finished up unbeaten on 71 but was run out trying to sneak a second from the opening delivery of the Super Over that followed, while Mohammad Nabi departed three balls later having hit a six, leaving Mumbai needing nine for victory.

Hardik Pandya made the equation even easier by smashing Rashid Khan's first delivery for six at the start of the Indians' reply. A single followed before Kieron Pollard hit the winning runs, his flick to deep midwicket allowing them to comfortably pick up the two they required.

Mumbai's triumph sees them join table-topping Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Capitals in the knockout stages.

As for Hyderabad - who were without in-form opener David Warner following his return to Australia - they still occupy the final berth for the qualifiers, though four teams are split by just two points in the battle to finish fourth.

STRUGGLING AGAINST THE SPINNERS

Quinton de Kock had earlier made 69 from 58 deliveries as Mumbai posted 162-5 after captain Rohit Sharma had surprisingly elected to bat first after winning the toss.

Rohit made 24 at the top of the order but the Indians failed to dominate the Sunrisers' varied bowling attack. Suryakumar Yadav contributed 23 but Pandya's hopes of a late onslaught were dashed when he fell for 18, becoming one of three wickets for Khaleel Ahmed.

However, it was Afghanistan duo Nabi and Rashid who starred in the first innings for Hyderabad, picking up combined figures of 1-45 from their eight overs.

Still, it appeared Mumbai had enough on the scoreboard when the Sunrisers still needed 41 from the final three overs.

NABI, PANDEY LEAVE IT LATE

Warner's absence at the top of the order has left a huge hole in the Hyderabad line-up. The left-hander scored 692 runs in this year's tournament but will miss the rest of the season to prepare for the Cricket World Cup.

New Zealander Martin Guptill replaced Warner and made 15, while opening partner Wriddhiman Saha hit five boundaries in a breezy 25.

Hyderabad slipped to 105-5 midway through the 15th over, only for their pursuit to be revitalised by Nabi, who hit two sixes and as many fours in his 31.

His maximum at the start of the final over when 17 were required provided impetus and while he was dismissed by Pandya soon after, Pandey sent the game into additional overs when he thumped a full ball over the rope.

Andre Russell was in the runs again as Kolkata Knight Riders overcame Hardik Pandya's onslaught for Mumbai Indians to end a six-game losing streak in the Indian Premier League.

West Indies all-rounder Russell blasted 80 from just 40 deliveries to help the Knight Riders reach 232-2 - the highest score posted by any team in this season's competition so far.

Shubman Gill made 76 as he combined with opening partner Chris Lynn (54) to put on 96 for the first wicket, laying the ideal platform for Russell, who came out to bat at number three.

Kolkata smashed 75 runs from the final five overs of their innings and appeared set for a comfortable victory when they reduced their opponents to 58-4 in reply.

Pandya made them work for the win by plundering 91 in a hurry - hitting nine sixes in his 36-ball knock - before he was caught by Russell, who capped a fine display by also taking 2-25 with the ball.

Sunil Narine and Harry Gurney also claimed two wickets apiece as Mumbai finished up on a respectable 198-7, leaving the final margin of victory at 34 runs.

 

ANDRE'S GIANT HITTING

Russell had called for Kolkata's management team to be flexible when it came to his batting position and he was duly given the chance to impress with a promotion up the order.

After managing a single from his first four deliveries, the Jamaican blasted back-to-back sixes at the end of Rahul Chahar's spell as he quickly moved through the gears.

He also took a liking to Lasith Malinga in the closing stages, smashing the Sri Lankan paceman for 20 runs in the final over of the innings to post his best score in a highly productive campaign.

Russell has now reached the landmark of 50 IPL sixes in 2019, while his tally of 486 runs means he sits only behind David Warner (611) in the top-scorers list.


PANDYA PUMMELS KNIGHT RIDERS

Mumbai lost Quinton de Kock for a four-ball duck as they struggled in pursuit of such a huge target. Gurney trapped Rohit Sharma lbw for 12 and Russell won the battle with West Indies team-mate Evin Lewis, who edged behind to depart for 15.

Pandya arrived at the crease following the dismissal of Suryakumar Yadav (26) and, together with Kieron Pollard (20), added 63 for the fifth wicket.

The India international reached his half-century from just 17 balls – the quickest seen this season – but his fun came to an end when he hit a slower delivery from Gurney straight to Russell on the boundary.

With Pandya gone, Kolkata were able to enjoy the final two overs with a degree of comfort, easing to the 100th Twenty20 victory in the franchise's history.

Chennai Super Kings slipped to a rare home IPL defeat as they missed the chance to book a play-off place against Mumbai Indians.

The Super Kings lead the standings this season but struggled badly with the bat on Friday, coming up 46 runs short in a chase that never truly fired.

Rohit Sharma's 67 had helped the Indians to 155-4 and it quickly became apparent that it would be enough to see off the hosts, who lost in front of their own fans for the first time in 2019.

Murali Vijay top-scored for Chennai with 38, while Mitchell Santner built on an impressive bowling show with a late 22, but they reached a measly 109 before being bowled out in 17.4 overs.

 

SPINNERS STAR FOR SUPER KINGS

The Super Kings were well on top for much of the Indians' innings, with their spin bowlers enjoying economical days.

Harbhajan Singh allowed just 23 runs from his four overs, while New Zealand international Santner produced the most eye-catching figures for Chennai, taking the wickets of Rohit and Evin Lewis (32) for just 13 runs.

Santner's intervention was particularly crucial with Rohit and Lewis having threatened to take control, combining for 75 runs as the former hit a trio of sixes and six fours.

INDIANS START TO TURN TIDE

Mumbai were in a tricky spot after 19 overs, on just 138-4, but 17 runs from the final six balls saw Hardik Pandya (23 not out) and Kieron Pollard (13no) end on a crucial unbroken partnership worth 33.

Vijay dug in as the Super Kings began their reply, yet his team-mates were not so stubborn as wickets tumbled early and often.

Lasith Malinga, Hardik and Krunal Pandya took a wicket apiece as Shane Watson, Suresh Raina and Ambati Rayudu departed, leaving Chennai 34-3 early on.

MISSING KEY MEN AT CRUCIAL TIME

Without captain MS Dhoni and Faf du Plessis, the Super Kings lacked a leader to rescue them from a tricky situation and Mumbai instead continued to make inroads.

Opener Vijay offered some resistance but finally went, while Malinga claimed a return catch to dismiss Dwayne Bravo for 20 as Chennai struggled to strike a balance between chasing their target and keeping wickets in hand.

The hosts still needed 53 runs from the final three overs but did not even make it to the end of the innings as Santner, hunting boundaries, picked out Pollard to see Malinga finish with 4-37.

Steve Smith scored a fifty in his first match as captain to lead the Rajasthan Royals to a five-wicket victory over the Mumbai Indians on Saturday.

Australia international Smith replaced Ajinkya Rahane as skipper after a run of two wins in eight Indian Premier League matches for the Royals, and he made 59 off 48 balls as they triumphed in Jaipur.

Smith won the toss and put the Indians in to bat but may have been regretting his decision as Quinton de Kock (65) and Suryakumar Yadav (34) built a 97-run partnership after the early loss of Rohit Sharma (5).

In his first outing since being named in the England squad for pre-Cricket World Cup ODIs against Pakistan and Ireland, Jofra Archer made a trio of drops as he endured a miserable day in the field.

Archer somewhat atoned by removing Hardik Pandya (23) in the final over, with Mumbai – who were without Jos Buttler, who returned to England to attend the birth of his first child – setting a target of 162.

Rahul Chahar's trio of wickets disrupted the Royals in the opening eight overs of the chase but Mumbai toiled as Smith and 17-year-old Riyan Parag (43) built a 70-run fourth-wicket stand.

Ben Cutting and Pandya combined brilliantly to run out Parag with 14 balls remaining, but Smith hit straight back with a four and his fifth of the match sealed the victory with five deliveries remaining.

 

ARCHER LACKING A STRING TO HIS BOW?

The first of Archer's drops came when he dived forward at long-on and failed to hold on to left-hander De Kock, who punished Dhawal Kulkarni by plundering 18 runs – including one maximum – off the next four deliveries.

Archer came in off the deep midwicket boundary and let Pandya slip through his fingers in the 17th over and spilled him again at long on in the penultimate set of six.

However, three of his four overs came at the death and he removed Pandya upon review with a blistering yorker that crashed into his front boot, finishing with figures of 1-22.

 

TURNER ROUND, ASHTON

Ashton Turner made his ODI debut in March but missed out on selection for the Cricket World Cup and the Australian's Twenty20 struggles continued against Mumbai.

The middle-order batsman was trapped lbw first ball by Jasprit Bumrah and has now failed to register a single run in his past four T20 innings.

Hardik and Krunal Pandya's fine stand preceded a superb showing with the ball from Rahul Chahar and Jasprit Bumrah as Mumbai Indians cemented their top-four spot with a comprehensive 40-run win over Delhi Capitals.

Only net run-rate separated these two sides in the Indian Premier League standings before Thursday's meeting in Delhi.

But it was the visitors who leapfrogged their opponents into second in the table with Hardik's 32 off 15 balls and Krunal's unbeaten 37 boosting Mumbai to a competitive 168-5 on a slow track.

The Capitals made a decent start in reply with Shikhar Dhawan (35 off 22) and Prithvi Shaw (20) putting on 49 for the first wicket.

Chahar (3-19) accounted for both men, though, and the wickets fell at regular intervals with Bumrah (2-18) playing his part in shutting out the hosts as the Capitals limped to 128-9.

 

SPINNERS GIVE CAPITALS A CHANCE

On a pitch that played slow and low, the spin of Axar Patel (1-17) and Amit Mishra (1-18) ensured the Capitals kept Mumbai's run-rate down.

Mishra took the crucial wicket of Rohit Sharma, who played around a delivery having struck three fours and a six in his 22-ball 30, which helped him past 8,000 T20 runs.

 

PANDYA BROS TAKE A STAND

Quinton de Kock's 35 off 27 and Suryakumar Yadav's 26 built on Rohit's early knock, before the Pandya brothers took Mumbai to a competitive score with a late flurry.

Hardik smacked three sixes in an electric cameo before edging Kagiso Rabada behind, while Krunal found the boundary on five occasions.

Together the duo put on 54, and 50 runs in the last three overs crucially boosted the tally.

 

CHAHAR, BUMRAH DO THE DAMAGE

The turning point of the Capitals' chase came when a Chahar delivery ricocheted off Dhawan's pads and onto the stumps.

Shaw then sent a catch off the same man to Hardik at long-on and Chahar also claimed Shreyas Iyer with a beauty that hit the top of off.

Bumrah snared the big wicket of Rishabh Pant with one that nipped back and he later took out Axar (26) as the Capitals were not given a sniff.

Mumbai Indians consigned Indian Premier League strugglers Royal Challengers Bangalore to a five-wicket defeat thanks to Hardik Pandya's late cameo at Wankhede Stadium.

The Challengers had picked up their first win of the 2019 season at the seventh attempt last time out but fell to another demoralising loss on Monday as the hosts overhauled their 171-7 with an over to spare.

It looked like being a tight finish as the Indians needed 22 off the last 12 balls, but Pandya (37 not out off 16) struck Pawan Negi for two fours and two sixes to get his side over the line.

Moeen Ali starred in a losing cause for RCB, making 50 off 32 in a partnership worth 95 with AB de Villiers (75 from 51) before returning 2-18 to give his team hope that was ultimately quashed by Pandya's blitz.

 

MOEEN FINDS FORM AT LAST ALONGSIDE DESTRUCTIVE DE VILLIERS

England all-rounder Moeen's previous top score in this IPL had been 32 but he looked in good touch, thumping five sixes in his 31-ball fifty.

Two of those came in one over from Jason Behrendorff, whose four overs cost 49 on the day he was included in Australia's World Cup squad.

Parthiv Patel had earlier taken the seamer for three fours and a maximum in the fifth, and De Villiers' fourth half-century of the tournament – featuring six fours and four sixes – boosted RCB's total.

 

MALINGA MAGIC PRECEDES OPENING ONSLAUGHT

The Challengers' progress was checked slightly as Lasith Malinga (4-31) picked up his four wickets in overs 18 and 20, before Quinton de Kock and Rohit Sharma went on the offensive for Mumbai.

The pair cleared the ropes four times between them in a seven-over stand worth 70, before Moeen dismissed them both in the space of four balls.

Rohit was cleaned up having made 28 off 19 and De Kock was trapped in front after a typically brisk 26-ball 40.

 

PANDYA PUNISHES NEGI

The game remained firmly in the balance heading into the penultimate over, where Pandya took control.

Negi's second ball disappeared over long-on and the next two were also smashed to the ropes before the fifth delivery was slog-swept over the leg-side for another maximum.

Mumbai's equation was reduced to two required off seven and the game was done, leaving RCB rooted to the foot of the table.

Rajasthan Royals threatened to waste a Jos Buttler batting masterclass before limping to a four-wicket win over Mumbai Indians on Saturday.

Quinton de Kock made 81 and Rohit Sharma 47 as Mumbai posted 187-5 at the Wankhede Stadium, a score that looked competitive until Buttler fired in Rajasthan's reply, smashing 89 from just 43 deliveries.

The England international allowed opening partner Ajinkya Rahane to do the early damage but the departure of his captain, caught for 37 when sweeping Krunal Pandya out to deep square leg, led to Buttler changing gears.

Alzarri Joseph suffered at the hands of the right-hander, conceding 28 runs in one over as the Royals' equation suddenly dropped to a run-a-ball rate.

Yet they made hard work of completing the job, losing four wickets in a hurry to give Mumbai hope before Shreyas Gopal got his side home with three balls to spare with a boundary off Hardik Pandya.

The Royals - who were without the injured Ben Stokes - eventually picked up just their second victory of the campaign, with Mumbai missing out on the chance to leapfrog over Kolkata Knight Riders into second place in the table.

 

A WEEK IS A LONG TIME IN THE IPL...

On April 6, Joseph claimed 6-12 on his Mumbai debut, the best bowling figures in the history of the Indian Premier League.

A week on from his record-breaking start in the competition, the West Indies paceman had a vastly different Twenty20 experience. His three overs in the game went for 53 runs, with Buttler ruining his figures.

The right-hander book-ended a pair of maximums with a quartet of fours in Joseph's last over, the bowler unable to find a way to stem the flow of boundaries despite changes in both his pace and length.

Buttler's quest to hit a seventh successive boundary resulted in his downfall, however, as he only picked out long on when trying to deposit Rahul Chahar over the rope.

 

FAST START, POWERFUL FINISH FOR MUMBAI

Rohit and De Kock shared an opening stand worth 96 for the home team, with the former back leading the team again after missing the victory over Kings XI Punjab due to injury.

South African De Kock hit four maximums before falling to Jofra Archer, who finished with figures of 3-39.

However, his departure set the scene for a late cameo from Hardik Pandya, the India all-rounder belting three sixes as he contributed an unbeaten 28 from just 11 deliveries.

His onslaught gave Mumbai a much-needed lift in the closing overs, though Buttler's belligerent hitting meant it was the Royals who came out on top in the end.

Kings XI Punjab will one eye nervously set on Windies star Chris Gayle who is believed to have suffered an injury during the team’s IPL encounter against Mumbai Indians on Thursday.

Gayle struck a 36-ball 63 but was eventually upstaged by regional teammate Kieron Pollard who scored an astounding 83 runs from 31-balls.  The 39-year-old opener is, however, more critically believed to have suffered a back injury during the match, the severity of which is yet to be assessed.

 “He (Gayle) said he twisted his back. We have to go check and how he is,” KXIP captain Ravichandran Ashwin said.  KXIP batting coach Sridharan Sriram also confirmed that the athlete had suffered an injury.

“He felt a twitch in the back – that’s what he said. We need to assess and monitor what he’s going to do over the next couple of days.”

Gayle did not take the field during Mumbai Indians’ successful run chase.  The big left-hander has been in fine form for both club and country scoring 223 runs in six games.  For the West Indies Gayle put in a sensational performance in the recent home series where he scored 424 runs in four games, which fueled a strongly contested 2-2 draw against higher-ranked England.  With the World Cup just a couple of months away the Windies will be hoping to keep their talisman in pristine condition if possible.

 

Stand-in captain Kieron Pollard led from the front in the Indian Premier League on Wednesday, helping Mumbai Indians make it three wins in a row with victory over Kings XI Punjab.

With Rohit Sharma rested due to a tight leg muscle, Pollard was charged with leading Mumbai and he did so with aplomb, hitting a stunning 83 to help secure a dramatic three-wicket triumph.

Pollard crushed a massive 10 sixes is in his 31-ball innings, but a loose hook to deep midwicket left Mumbai needing four to win off as many balls.

Rahul Chahar and Alzarri Joseph reduced that equation down to two off the final delivery and the latter produced the winning blow, a straight drive allowing the pair to scamper through and seal victory.

Pollard strode to the crease with his side 56-2 and in need of an injection of pace, and he duly delivered with a destructive display that saw Sam Curran take much of the punishment.

Hardik Pandya (19) offered him some support but poor decision-making from the Kings XI bowlers allowed Pollard to keep the home crowd believing.

Mumbai's successful run chase came after KL Rahul had reminded everyone of his batting talent with a first IPL century at the top of the order.

Rahul, as well as India team-mate Pandya, had been called before a Board of Control for Cricket in India ombudsman to explain controversial comments made on a television show.

Any possible disciplinary action did not weigh on his shoulders, though, as he hit an unbeaten 64-ball hundred to help Kings XI reach 197-4 from their 20 overs – ably assisted by Chris Gayle.

However, their 116-run opening stand was not enough as Kings XI slipped to a third defeat of the campaign.
 

POLLARD PUNISHES CURRAN

Curran had claimed an IPL hat-trick earlier in the competition but there were no heroics this time for the England all-rounder as Pollard targeted him.

The West Indian launched six maximums off Curran's bowling and added two fours to make it 44 runs in boundaries off the 20-year-old.

Curran – who was announced as one of Wisden's cricketers of the year earlier on Wednesday – finished with figures of 1-54 from his four overs – his worst of the campaign to date.

WINDIES STARS BRING THE RUNS

If Pollard's brutal display of hitting helped finish the game in style, Gayle's equally impressive knock had kicked things off beautifully.

While Rahul carefully picked the gaps, left-hander Gayle bludgeoned the Mumbai bowling like only he can.

His 36-ball 63 included seven maximums and looked like being another match-winning display until Pollard’s second-innings fireworks.

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