Elegance mingled with belligerence as Rohit Sharma and his two big-hitting lieutenants powered Mumbai Indians to 191 for four in their Indian Premier League match against Kings XI Punjab here on Thursday.
After the skipper was dismissed for a 45-ball 70, the duo of Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya smashed fours and sixes at will, scoring 67 runs in mere 25 balls.
MI got 25 runs in the final over with Pollard sending Krishnappa Gotham’s last three balls into the stands of the Sheikh Zayed Stadium.
They scored 19 off the penultimate over and 18 off the 18th over.
MI were 87 for three at the end of the 14th over but upped the ante with Pollard and Rohit hitting a six each off leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi to collect 15 runs from the 15th over.
Rohit scored 22 runs off the 16th over bowled by James Neesham.
It was then left to the pair of Pollard and Hardik to provide the final flourish.
The start was inauspicious for the defending champions as Sheldon Cottrell castled Quinton de Kock with late swing after four dot balls in the first over.
Smashed for five sixes in an over in his previous outing, it was a new day, new game for Cottrell, as he started with a wicket maiden.
Rohit reached 5000 IPL runs with a glorious cover drive off his first ball of the innings, joining Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina.
Three balls later, Rohit punched one along the ground through the cover-point region for another boundary.
Mohammed Shami came back to hit the pads and forced the umpire to raise his finger with a vociferous appeal. However, the decision was turned down after a review as the ball seemed to be going down the leg-stump.
Taking a leaf out of his captain’s book, Suryakumar Yadav got into the act straightaway, playing two back-to-back pleasing drives through the off-side.
Leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi was introduced into the attack in the fourth over and while Shami could not strike with the ball first up, the India pacer ran out Suryakumar with a direct hit from short fine leg to leave MI at 21 for two in the fourth over.
Rohit gave himself some room and played Gowtham between mid-off and extra cover and cut the next ball through the point region for another fine boundary.
Having reached 14 off 21 balls, Ishan Kishan lofted Bishnoi for a massive six over deep mid-wicket to break the shackles.