LISTEN: Full script of Episode 182 of Spodcast where we discuss MI's win over KXIP; Sindhu, Saina's wins at Singapore Open and more

FP Sports
Today, we discuss Mumbai Indians' stunning run chase against Kings XI Punjab, PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal's wins at Singapore Open 2019 and more.

Welcome to Spodcast, the sports update on Firstpost.

Kieron Pollard's sensational 83-run knock helped Mumbai Indians pulled off a thrilling last-ball three-wicket win over Kings XI Punjab on Wednesday.

Chasing 198 runs for a win, Pollard, the stand-in captain following Rohit Sharma's leg injury, promoted himself up the order. After 10 overs, MI needed 133 runs from 60 balls, still fancying their chances with the big-hitting Pollard at the crease and another fine finisher Hardik Pandya to follow. However, Mohammed Shami removed both Pandya brothers, Hardik and Krunal, in the space of four balls. It was then the Pollard show, as he almost won the game single handedly with his 31-ball knock, hitting Punjab's bowlers for 10 sixes and three fours. The burly West Indian was dismissed on the second ball of the last over with four needed for victory from final five balls. With two runs required off the final delivery, Alzarri Joseph and Rahul Chahar stole two runs to win a thrilling victory for Mumbai.

Earlier, Kings XI Punjab had a great start to their innings as Chris Gayle looked in a murderous mood. He belted 63 runs from 36 balls and shared a 116-run stand with fellow opener KL Rahul. Gayle's dismissal in the 13th over slowed things down but Rahul punished Hardik Pandya by hitting three sixes and a four in the 19th over which went for 25 runs. Rahul scored his first IPL century, making 100 from 64 balls as Punjab reached 197/4 in 20 overs. But his fluent century was eclipsed by Kieran Pollard's heroics on a night tailor-made for the West Indian to shine in one of the best matches this season.

Indian cricketers Virat Kohli and Smriti Mandhana were declared Wisden's male and female Leading Cricketer for the year 2018 on Wednesday.

Indian captain Virat Kohli was named the Leading Cricketer of the year for the third successive time by the 2019 edition of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack. Kohli, who scored 2,735 runs across all three formats in 2018, was picked as one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the year, along with England's Tammy Beaumont, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran and Rory Burns. Kohli made 593 runs in five Tests at an average of 59.3 during India's 1-4 loss to England and ended the year with five centuries to his name.

Only two other cricketers have won the award more than three times - Don Bradman and Jack Hobbs. The Five Cricketers of the Year are chosen by Lawrence Booth, the editor of the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, with the 2019 version serving as the 156th edition.

Indian women's team opener Smriti Mandhana bagged the women's Leading Cricketer of the Year. She bagged the honor after scoring 669 and 662 runs in ODIs and T20Is last year. She also made 421 runs at an astounding strike rate of 174.68 in the women's Super League.

Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan was named the Leading T20 Cricketer of the Year for the second year in a row, following his superb performance last year. He took 22 wickets at an average of 8.68 for Afghanistan in T20Is, besides scalping 21 wickets in the Indian Premier League 2018.

The Indian women's hockey team won the fourth match against Malaysia on Wednesday after a late goal by youngster Lalremsiami to take an unassailable lead in the five-match bilateral series.

Malaysia made a strong start with an early penalty corner in the very first minute of the game but the alert India goalkeeper Savita made a good save. India earned a corner in the next minute but failed to score. With ace drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur missing the tour due to an injury, India missed five penalty corner opportunities in this game.

India continued to maintain pressure, with tight marking inside the circle giving Malaysia no real chance to take a shot on goal. Having missed out on penalty corners, India looked for a potential opportunity, and Navneet Kaur set up a splendid goal for Lalremsiami who made a diving effort to help India win. The young player's sensational 55th-minute goal ensured that India secured a narrow win in a hard-fought contest.

Sjoerd Marijne, the team's chief coach, said, "We played very good third and fourth quarter where we created good scoring opportunities. This is something we want to execute much better tomorrow and especially improve our on-field decision making."

India won the first two matches 3-0 and 5-0 but were held to a draw in the previous game. Speaking about the 3-0 lead in the series, Marijne said, "Winning is fine but what's more important for me is that we play good, structured hockey. If we tick the right boxes, winning will eventually happen and I would like to see us end the last match tomorrow on the same lines as we played the third and fourth quarters today €" fewer mistakes and good energy."

Indian badminton stars PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth eased into the second round of the $355,000 Singapore Open with convincing wins in the singles event on Wednesday.

Sindhu, seeded fourth in the tournament, took just 27 minutes to defeat Indonesia's Lyanny Alessandra Mainaky 21-9, 21-7 in a one-sided match. The Rio Olympics silver-medalist will play Mia Blichfeldt of Denmark in the next round.

Saina Nehwal, seeded sixth, defeated Indonesian shuttler Yulia Yosephin Susanto 21-16, 21-11, to book a place in the next round. Saina, a bronze medalist in the 2012 London Olympics, will look to avenge her first-round loss at Malaysia Open to Thailand's Pornpawee Chochuwong, whom she faces in the second round.

In the men's singles draw, sixth seed Kidambi Srikanth defeated Thailand's Sitthikom Thammasin 21-17, 21-18 in a 41-minute match. He will lock horns with Denmark's Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus in the next round. 2014 Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap continued his good form with a 21-19, 21-14 win over world number 28 Rasmus Gemke of Denmark to set up a clash with Olympic champion Chen Long of China. Sameer Verma defeated Thailand's Suppanyu Avihingsanon 21-14, 21-6 and will face China's Lu Guangzu in round two. HS Prannoy came back from a game down to win 11-21, 21-16, 21-18 against Brice Leverdez of France. Prannoy's next match will be another tough duel - he will face off against top seed and world no 1 Kento Momota of Japan. Momota himself survived a scare against 2017 champion B Sai Praneeth. The Indian shuttler put up a stiff resistance before losing 21-19, 14-21, 20-22 to the reigning World champion.

Indian boxer Pinki Rani began her campaign at the Cologne Boxing World Cup in the 51 kg category on Wednesday with a commanding win over German boxer Ursula Gottlob.

21 countries are taking part across 17 weight categories at the prestigious European event that will help elite boxers hone their skills ahead of the World Championships that will be held later this year.

Pinki blanked Gottlob 5-0 as India's boxers assured themselves of at least a couple of medals. The seven-member Indian contingent is assured of at least a silver medal and a bronze through Meena Kumari Maisnam and Pwilao Basumatary. With just three boxers in the fray in the 54 kg category, Strandja Memorial gold medalist Maisnam has already entered the final. In a similar scenario in the 64 kg category, Basumatary, a bronze medalist at Strandja Memorial, made it to the semi-finals in a field with just five pugilists.

India will be represented in the 57 kg event by the sensational two-time Youth World Champion boxer Sakshi while Parveen will be hoping for a medal in 60 kg category.

The Indian contingent brought home a healthy haul of six medals - two gold, one silver and three bronze - from the erstwhile Chemistry Cup last year. Gaurav Solanki, who won the 52 kg category, and Mohammed Hussamuddin, who had won in the 56 kg category, had delivered the gold for India.

Also See: Firstpost Spodcast Episode 182: Pollard powers MI to win over KXIP; Sindhu, Saina advance in Singapore Open and more

Firstpost Spodcast Episode 172: MI beat RCB in IPL; Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is Manchester United's new full-time manager and more

Listen: Full script of Episode 173 of Spodcast where we discuss Mi's win over RCB in IPL, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's appointment as full-time Man United boss and more

Read more on Sports by Firstpost.