Mumbai Indians batsman Lendl Simmons after his half century during an IPL match between Delhi Daredevils and Mumbai Indians at Ferozshah Kotla in New Delhi on Saturday. Pic/PTI
Mumbai Indians became the first team to qualify for the IPL Play-offs after bulldozing the hosts Delhi Daredevils by 146 runs in a one-sided match at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground on Saturday night.
West Indians Lendl Simmons and Kieron Pollard struck blazing half centuries before their bowlers came up with clinical show to demolish the home team by the biggest-ever margin in IPL history.
Simmons, who replaced Jos Butler at the top of the order, displayed ominous form in his very first match of the season to smash 66 off 43 balls before Pollard came to the party with a 35-ball 63 to take table leaders Mumbai to an imposing 212 for three.
Daredevils were expected to put up a fight, especially after chasing of 185 and 208 in the last four days at the Feroz Shah Kotla and were shot out for 66, the lowest total this season.
Their talent rich batting line-up came a cropper against a disciplined Mumbai attack, especially spinners Harbhajan Singh and Karn Sharma who picked up three wickets apiece.
The game was as good as over when Daredevils lost half their side for 35 runs in the sixth over before folding in 13.4 overs, days after being bowled for 67 runs by Kings XI Punjab in Mohali.
The 146-run thumping was also the highest victory margin by runs for any team in the IPL history.
Mumbai now have nine wins from 11 games with 18 points and are well on course to top the points table. It was a seventh loss for the hosts in 11 matches, virtually ending their hopes of sealing a play-off spot.
Daredevils were off to the worse possible start with Sanju Samson offering a straight forward catch to Simmons at deep square leg for a first-ball duck. Lasith Malinga removed his opening partner Shreyas Iyer in the following over with a sharp short ball which the batsman scooped it straight to mid-wicket.
Last match's hero at this ground, Rishabh Pant, did not last long either. He failed to pick up a slower one off Jasprit Bumrah to be holed out at deep midwicket.
The wickets were falling like ninepins and this time it was the turn of Karun Nair, who looked good during his 15-ball 21 before being dismissed by Harbhajan Singh.
From there on, it was all about surviving the ignominy of not being bowled for their sub-70 total for the second time this season but they hardly showed any resistance.
Earlier, Mumbai Indians saw out the first three overs, scoring just 18 before Simmons cut loose to take his side to 60 for no loss by the end of sixth over.
Parthiv Patel (25 off 22) was playing second fiddle to Simmons until leggie Amit Mishra got him stumped off a well flighted googly to leave Mumbai at 79 for one in the ninth overs.
Watching the West Indian bat was pure delight for the packed weekend crowd at the Kotla. He got going by whacking pacer Kagiso Rabada over deep midwicket before slashing one hard over point for four runs.
The following over bowled by Zaheer Khan saw him hit another pull for a six. Patel's fall meant two West Indians were at the crease with Kieron Pollard joining Simmons, increasing fans' expectations for more entertainment.
And that is what they both provided by taking the attack to the cleaners. Pollard spoiled Mishra's figures by hammering him for four straight sixes with the last one landing on the third tier of Kotla.
Simmons, whose whirlwind innings comprised four sixes and five boundaries, fell to a rather ordinary ball bowled by Corey Anderson as he picked out Marlon Samuels at short fine leg.
Barring Zaheer, who returned from injury to lead the team, all bowlers were taken to task by the two West Indians.
The decision to send Pollard ahead of Nitish Rana worked perfectly as he not only demolished the attack, he stayed till the end.
Just like Simmons, Pollard too ended with five fours and four sixes. Australian Pat Cummins felt the heat in his very first over, conceding 19 runs with 16 of them coming in boundaries. He was in for more punishment in the final over of the innings with Hardik Pandya (29 off 14) following Pollard to clobber Cummins for couple of sixes and a cracking four towards the point boundary. The over went for 23 as Cummins ended with forgettable figures of 59 runs in four overs.