Man of the Match Kieron Pollard smashed an unbeaten 87 from just 34 balls to propel Mumbai Indians to a thrilling four-wicket victory over the Chennai Super Kings in the IPL today (May 1).
Pollard hit eight sixes and six fours, one of each in the final over, before running for two off the last ball off the match to hand Mumbai their highest ever successful run chase and the second highest in IPL history.
Chasing the 218-4 set by Chennai thanks to a 27-ball 72 from Ambati Rayudu and 50 and 58 from Faf Du Plessis and Moeen Ali, respectively, the defending champions got off to a solid start scoring 71 in the first seven and a half overs.
However, Mumbai lost three wickets over the next two overs to be 81-3 in the 10th over. The loss of wickets brought together Pollard and Krunal Pandya, who laid the platform for victory with a stand of 89 in 41 balls.
GAME TOOK A LATE TWIST
The game took a late twist with the introduction of Sam Curran to the bowling attack. His impact was almost immediate, breaking the partnership when he trapped Krunal lbw for 32. He also only conceded two runs from the over, which left Mumbai needing 48 from the last three overs.
However, at 170-4 and with Pollard at the other end, Mumbai was still in the hunt. Despite the loss of Krunal’s wicket, the giant Trinidadian continued his rampage unchecked, striking Shardul Thakur for a six and a four in the following over that yielded 17 runs.
Pollard did benefit from a bit of fortune in the over when, on 68, he was dropped by Du Plessis who let the ball slip through his fingers inside the long-on boundary.
Hardik Pandya, who had joined Pollard at the crease provided another twist. He struck the first two balls of Curran’s final over for consecutive sixes, bringing up 200, and then took two runs off the next as 14 runs came from the first three balls.
Curran, who finished with 3-34, then had a measure of revenge when he had Hardik caught in the deep by Du Plessis. It was the first of his two wickets in the over as he also had James Neesham caught at deep square leg for nought off the last ball.
With Mumbai needing 15 from the last over, Pollard hit Lungi Ngidi’s second and third deliveries for his fifth and sixth four. He then smashed the bowler’s fifth delivery for his eighth six on his way to ending the thrilling match in dramatic fashion at 219-6.
Pollard, who also took two wickets for 12 runs from his two overs when Chennai batted, said during the chase he was always aiming to hit sixes because of the size of the ground.
“Obviously, being a small ground, we thought it was the best time for the seamer to bowl. They have four overs of spin on a small ground and I looked to hit some sixes against spin. I had to maximise that over from (Ravindra) Jadeja,” referring to the 13th over that yielded 20 runs including the three sixes he hit off the bowler.
Pollard said his success in similar circumstances stems from his desire to continually improve his batting skills.
“That would always keep us in the game. Each and every time as an individual you have to evolve. Guys bowl wide and a lot of practice goes into it. I can’t say I’m 360, but I’m maximizing it [hitting through the off side],” he said.
“I was fortunate Faf gave me the chance.”
The win sees Mumbai move up to fourth in the standings with eight points.