IPL desk in Mumbai 12 April 2012 - 12:14am IST
Report: Match 12 – MI v RR
All-round Pollard hands Rajasthan Royals first loss of IPL 2012
Earlier, upon being put into bat by RR captain, Rahul Dravid, MI got off to a quick start despite losing T Suman (10) in the fourth over. Richard Levi’s 22-ball 29 and Rohit Sharma’s 13-ball 21 powered MI to the 50-run mark in just 5.4 overs.
In an effort to stem the flow of runs, Dravid turned to Australian Brad Hogg, who was playing his first game of the competition. Hogg vindicated Dravid’s decision by knocking over Sharma and Levi in successive overs to leave Mumbai stumbling at 68 for three in 8.2 overs.
However, thereafter it was all MI as Ambati Rayudu and Pollard took the visitors’ attack apart. The pair struck a 96-run stand, which saw the home team’s total surge past 150 in the 17th over. During that fourth wicket stand, Pollard hit four sixes, including two in Johan Botha’s only over. The South African conceded as many as 22 runs in that over.
Pollard (64 off 33 balls) eventually perished playing one shot too many when he was caught by Ajinkya Rahane at long-on off left-arm spinner Ankeet Chavan’s bowling. Another couple of quick wickets – Dinesh Karthik (0) and James Franklin (2) – threatened to derail the good work done by Pollard and Rayudu. But captain Harbhajan Singh’s unbeaten six-ball 18* (1x4, 2x6) helped MI finish at an imposing score of 197 for six in 20 overs. Rayudu remained unbeaten on 47, while Amit Singh and Hogg picked up two wickets each for the Royals.
Chasing 198 to win, RR started disastrously. Munaf Patel had Rahul Dravid (3) caught at mid-off and Shreevats Goswami (0) edging the ball to wicketkeeper Karthik off consecutive deliveries. This reduced the visitors to seven for two in just the second over.
A feisty 82-run stand in just 9.3 overs between Ajinkya Rahane and Owais Shah ensued, which put the Royals’ innings on course to chase down the set target. And although Rahane (40 off 31, 4x4, 2x6) was caught at long-on off Pollard’s bowling in the 12th over, Shah continued unfettered. The middle-order batsman smashed five sixes and as many fours in a 42-ball innings of 76 to provide RR the perfect opportunity to outgun Mumbai’s total.
With the visitors almost keeping up with the required run-rate at the end of the 14th over, Harbhajan brought Lasith Malinga back into the attack. That proved to be turning point of the game as Malinga knocked over Shah and then dismissed Johan Botha (2) in the space of four deliveries to wreck RR’s run chase.
Kevon Cooper (14) went next when Munaf Patel pegged his off stump back in the 17th over, while Pollard accounted for Ashok Menaria (20), Ankeet Chavan (4) and Amit Singh (0) in four balls in the 18th over. Munaf then bagged his fourth wicket of the match – Brad Hogg (2) – to bring an end to the Royals’ innings at 170 in 19.4 overs.
This win puts MI at the top of the points table while Rajasthan slip to fourth place with their first loss of the competition.
Man-of-the-match: Kieron Pollard for his all-round performance – 64 off 33 balls (6x4, 4x6) and bowling figures of 4-0-44-4