IPL 2019: Hardik Pandya and Hardus Viljoen square off on the pitch at the Wankhede

The match between the Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Thursday was a humdinger in which the winner wasn’t decided until the final game of the game was bowled. Mumbai managed to defeat KXIP by three wickets as the game saw a nail-biting finish with Alzarri Joseph scoring the winning runs for his side off the last ball while chasing a challenging target of 198 runs.

Hardik Pandya, who walked into the middle at the fall of the wicket of Ishan Kishan, showed great intent right from the start and tried to attack the bowlers. After he walked in, Kieron Pollard too broke loose and the duo built up a quickfire partnership. They added 41 runs in only 19 balls which were crucial at that position in the match. Hardik, who didn’t have a good game with the ball, conceding 57 runs in his four overs, was seen exchanging stares with KXIP all-rounder Hardus Viljoen as the duo enjoyed some friendly fire on the field.

Right after he walked in to bat first, Pandya decided to have a go at the South African pacer. Viljoen was walking towards the umpire as he was supposed to bowl the next over of the match. The 25-year-old, though, came in his way and tried to stop him. The duo came face to face and Hardus even had something to say to Hardik Pandya. He smiled initially and then said something as he walked away. It seemed to be quite a fun banter where the two must have taken a sly dig at each other.

It was the second time during the same match that Viljoen was involved in a heated exchange with a Mumbai Indians cricketer. Not long before, it was Kieron Pollard who was involved in a heated exchange of words with Viljoen after being hit by a delivery bowled by the South African. It happened when Viljeon walked up to Pollard to enquire if Pollard was in pain. Pollard gave an indication that everything was okay and play carried on.

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Pandya struggled with his line and length initially as he was tonked around by Gayle, who scored a quickfire 63 off 36 balls to combine with KL Rahul to get KXIP off to a flyer. Rahul notched up his maiden IPL hundred as the duo posted a 116-run stand for the first wicket. After Gayle’s dismissal, Rahul almost single-handedly powered KXIP to a big total and smacked 23 runs off Pandya’s 19th over.

Later with the bat as well, Pandya failed to get into his rhythm and was dismissed after scoring 19 runs off 13 balls. But it was Kieron Pollard, who turned it around for Mumbai with his sensational effort. The Windies all-rounder went all guns blazing as he slammed 83 off just 31 balls to lead Mumbai to their third straight win to earn them the third spot in the points table. Pollard slammed ten sixes and three fours en-route his blistering knock and was rightly adjudged the Man of the Match for his performance.



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