When Kieron Pollard was signed for a whopping $750,000 in IPL 2010 auctions, he had only 20 international innings under his belt. Ofcourse he was paid not for his performance but for his hitting potential and with time he did convert potential into performance.
But nine years later with the Russells and the Pants taking over as the torch-bearers of powerful hitting, Pollard’s image as a powerful hitter has diminished but tonight he showcased once again his ability to turn a game single-handedly with his powerful hitting. He produced a 31-ball 81-run knock and stunned Punjab allowing Mumbai to register a three wicket win.
The night was lightened up first by KL Rahul though. He has regained his mojo and is batting with the class and elegance he is known for. He scored 116 runs for the first wicket with Chris Gayle (63 off 36 balls) in 12.5 overs and delivered the final punches after the middle-order collapsed.
Rahul collared Hardik Pandya for three sixes and a four off the first four balls of the 19th over and then drilled Bumrah a six in the last over. Rahul scored a century of 64 balls and took Punjab to 197 runs in 20 overs.
Siddesh Lad who opened the innings in Rohit Sharma’s absence failed to make an impact while Quinton de Kock too continued his erratic run. Suryakumar Yadav was caught at deep square leg against Sam Curran just when he looked set and Ishkan Kishan failed too.
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Mumbai were at 94 for 4 wickets after 12 overs but then Kieron Pollard took off with Hardik as his company. The duo added 39 runs in three overs but with both Pandya brothers falling in the span of three balls in the 16th over, the game tilted in Punjab’s favour.
Pollard though kept on muscling the ball in the stands with brute force. He slammed Sam Curran for two sixes in the 17th over and clobbered two more sixes and a four in his 19th over.
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With 15 to defend Ankit Rajpoot bowled a no-ball on the first ball which Pollard whacked for a six. On the next ball he scored a four to bring the equation to 4 runs off 4 balls. The game was almost done but Pollard gifted his wicket by dragging a short-ball into deep mid-wicket fielder’s throat and Punjab sensed a chance.
Rajpoot bowled a dot on the next ball but Chahar and Joseph picked a single each on the next two balls to take it to 2 runs off 1 ball. On the last ball of the over, Joseph hammered a straight drive and ran two runs by the time the long-on fielder stopped the ball.
Mumbai won by three wickets and registered their fourth win in Indian Premier League season 12.