Pollard steers Mumbai to last-gasp IPL win over Chennai
Kieron Pollard hit an unbeaten 87 off 34 balls to power Mumbai Indians to a thrilling four-wicket Indian Premier League win over old rivals Chennai Super Kings on Saturday.
Chennai seemed to be coasting to victory when the West Indies star came in, with Mumbai needing 138 from 10 overs to beat their opponents’ 218 for four.
Pollard smashed eight sixes and six fours to lead the unlikely charge against one of the title favourites.
After Faf du Plessis dropped one Pollard hit, Mumbai needed 16 off the last over.
Pollard hit two fours, then a six off the penultimate ball and ran two off the last delivery to complete one of the closest wins in IPL history.
“It was one of the best T20 wins I have ever been a part of. I have never seen a chase like that before,” said Mumbai captain Rohit Sharma.
Chennai missed a chance to pull away from their rivals at the top of the IPL standings. They still lead Delhi Capitals and Royal Challengers Bangalore on net run rate, with all three teams on five wins from seven matches.
Reigning champions Mumbai now have the fourth playoff spot with four wins.
The game is always one of the most tense as Mumbai have won five IPL titles and Chennai are their closest rivals with three.
Sharma won the toss and put Chennai in to bat.
Du Plessis hit 50 off 28 balls, England all-rounder Moeen Ali 58 off 36 balls and then Ambati Rayudu smashed the Mumbai bowlers for 72 off just 27 deliveries to put their side in control of the game.
Pollard played a key role in restricting the runs, ending Du Plessis’s dangerous innings and dismissing Suresh Raina with successive balls.
In reply, Quinton de Kock (38) and Sharma (35) put on 71 for the first wicket but the required run rate kept mounting.
Mumbai were struggling when Pollard came in.
Pollard and Krunal Pandya (32) put on 89 for the fourth wicket and he was then helped by Hardik Pandya who made 16 from seven balls as Mumbai fought their way back.
The Windies’ limited-overs captain said he knew he would be facing some spin on the small Delhi ground when he first arrived at the crease and “looked to hit some sixes”.
Three balls from one Ravindra Jadeja over went into the empty stands.
Du Plessis, a respected fielder, dropped Pollard on the boundary and the reprieved batsman admitted that the South African had done him “a favour” as Mumbai pulled off the second highest run chase in the IPL.
Bottom-of-the-table Sunrisers Hyderabad have meanwhile made New Zealander Kane Williamson captain in place of Australian David Warner.
Hyderabad have won just one game from six going into Sunday’s clash against fellow strugglers Rajasthan Royals.
“The decision has not come lightly as the management respects the enormous impact David Warner has had for the franchise over a number of years,” the team said in a statement.
Warner led Hyderabad to their only title in 2016. But Williamson also replaced him when Warner was serving a one-year ban in 2018 for his part in the infamous Australian ball-tampering scandal.