The Mumbai Indians' title defence could well be back on track following consecutive wins from the reigning Indian Premier League champions as a Kieron Pollard special, another record equaling half-century, helped Mumbai stun the Kolkata Knight Riders by 6 wickets with 2 full overs to spare in the final match at the Wankhede Stadium.
Mumbai, playing what is already the 8th match of their season, improved to an even 4-4 record, after chasing down KKR's total of 174-5 with consummate ease. Skipper Rohit Sharma once again led the way, batting through the innings and finishing unbeaten on a very creditable 68 off 49 balls, but it was Pollard who stole the show, smashing 6 of the last 8 deliveries he faced for maximums, storming to a 17-ball half century, equaling Chris Gayle, Adam Gilchrist and Chris Morris' record, with the last of that trio having achieved that milestone for the Delhi Daredevils just last night.
Unlike Morris though, Pollard's effort was in a winning cause as Mumbai made quick work of the target despite a good spell from Sunil Narine, who took 2-22 from his 4 overs.
Having been put in to bat on losing the toss, Kolkata made a bright start with Gautam Gambhir (59) and Robin Uthappa (36) sharing another productive opening stand worth 69, getting those runs in less than 8 overs. Uthappa in particular was striking the ball beautifully, getting his runs at a strike rate of 180 before he was dismissed by veteran spinner Harbhajan Singh.
There were a lot of useful contributions from the KKR middle order, but it wasn't till Yusuf Pathan smashed 19 off 8 balls at the end, that Kolkata really looked like breaking lose. Pathan's good work was in a way nullified by season debutant Chris Lynn, who made a run a ball 10 in the death overs and failed to find the fence even once.
Parthiv Patel, who led Mumbai to a morale boosting win in the last game, fell early today in the chase, but Sharma once again found a useful ally in Ambati Rayudu, who smashed 32 off 20 balls to ensure that Mumbai were always up with the asking rate.
Rohit himself was going great guns, and despite the failure of Krunal Pandya (6) and Jos Buttler (15), Mumbai were very much in the hunt needing just under 10 an over from the last 7.
They only needed 5 in the end as Pollard joined Rohit out in the middle and hastened the end to take the Mumbai Indians up to third place, level on 8 points with the Kolkata Knight Riders, albeit having played 2 games more.
Up next for Mumbai is a Maharastra derby with the Rising Pune Supergiants this Sunday night, while the Knight Riders head to Delhi next to take on the Daredevils in the 4pm start on Saturday.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (c), Parthiv Patel (wk), Ambati Rayudu, Jos Buttler, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Harbhajan Singh, Tim Southee, Mitchell McClenaghan, Jasprit Bumrah
Kolkata Knight Riders: Gautam Gambhir (c), Robin Uthappa (wk), Suryakumar Yadav, Shakib Al Hasan, Yusuf Pathan, Chris Lynn, Andre Russell, R Sathish, Jaydev Unadkat, Umesh Yadav, Sunil Narine
Kolkata Knight Riders 174-5 (20 overs, 8.70rpo)
G Gambhir 59 (45) T Southee 2-38 (4)
R Uthappa 36 (20) H Pandya 1-15 (2)
Mumbai Indians 178-4 (18 overs, 9.88rpo)
R Sharma 68* (49) S Narine 2-22 (4)
K Pollard 51* (17) U Yadav 1-19 (2)
Mumbai Indians won by 6 wickets