Mumbai Indians became the first team to qualify for the IPL Play-offs after bulldozing hosts Delhi Daredevils by 146 runs at Feroz Shah Kotla on Saturday. 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 Buttler 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 got 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 Shreyas Iyer in the following over with a sharp short ball which the batsman scooped 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.