Kieron Pollard almost single-handedly helped the Mumbai Indians chase down 198 against Kings XI Punjab at the Wankhede Stadium on Wednesday night. After helplessly watching Chris Gayle and KL Rahul pummel his bowlers earlier in the evening, Pollard dished out treatment of his own to the KXIP bowlers and powered his team’s chase. The Mumbai Indians registered a 3-wicket win, getting past the finish line off the last ball of the match.
Each of Mumbai Indians’ top three got off to starts, but not one of them threatened to run away with the game. After the middle order was dismissed cheaply, the responsibility fell squarely on Pollard’s shoulders, and boy did he respond! He scored 83 runs – his highest score for the Mumbai Indians – in the most destructive manner and single-handedly took his team to the brink.
There was plenty of drama right through to the finish line. MI needed 15 off the final over; Pollard collected a six off a no ball first up, and then collected a boundary through fine-leg next ball. One hit away, the bowler Ankit Rajpoot dished out a short delivery, which Pollard pulled but hit straight down the throat of midwicket. MI needed 4 of 3 balls, which became 2 off the last ball; Alzarri Joseph tapped a full toss down the ground, and he and youngster Rahul Chahar scampered for a brace to seal the win.
Earlier in the evening, KXIP got off to a sedate start with the openers Chris Gayle and KL Rahul scoring 20 runs in the first four overs. But it appeared as if someone had switched on a button then, for Gayle and Rahul cut loose. Gayle, who was 3 from 8 balls, hit Jason Behrendorff for three sixes and a boundary in the fifth over, while Rahul collected two boundaries and a six in the next couple of overs.
The pair continued to amass runs. Gayle was particularly severe on the Pandya brothers; he hit Hardik for two fours and a six in the ninth over and brought up his half-century in style when he deposited Krunal into the stands in the eleventh over. After the opening stand was snapped at 116 – when Gayle was dismissed by Behrendorff, MI pulled things back by sneaking in a couple of quiet overs.
But then in the final couple of overs, Rahul unleashed the attacking batsman in him and helped himself to his first IPL hundred and his third hundred in all T20 cricket. Courtesy Rahul’s flourish, Kings XI Punjab added 38 runs in the last two overs and finished strongly.
Standout batting performances
Kieron Pollard was at his destructive best on Wednesday night. As if spurred on by captaincy, he tore apart the Kings XI Punjab bowlers. Anything in his arc, Pollard sent it on its way into the sightscreens or into the crowds either side. Anything short, he swung hard and deposited the ball into the stands at square-leg or midwicket. There were 10 massive sixes and three fours in his 31-ball 83.
Pollard walked out to bat at number four when the score read 56-2 after 7.4 overs. When he was dismissed in the final over, MI’s score was 194-7; in between he caused carnage. Particularly in the final last four overs – when MI needed 54, Pollard was brutal; from that point, he scored 41 off 13 balls.
The Trinidadian was extremely severe on young Sam Curran,of whom he scored 47 runs from 15 deliveries; Pollard hit the Surrey bowler for six sixes and two boundaries.
When KL Rahul bats the ‘typical KL Rahul way’, he can cause a lot of damage effortlessly. On Wednesday night, the opening batsman from Karnataka oozed class; his 64-ball 100 contained six boundaries and 6 sixes – several of them which left those watching awestruck. There were drives through cover – off the frontfoot and the backfoot, drives on the up over mid-off, whip off the pads and pull shots which deposited the ball into the stands.
The other impressive feature of Rahul’s was his ability to switch gears; he started briskly, then took a backseat when Gayle exploded, and then again towards the end flourished himself. The right-hander was 69 of 54 balls at the start of the nineteenth over when got stuck into Hardik Pandya, hitting him for three sixes and a four. He began the twentieth over with a whip off his pads that deposited a JaspritBumrah delivery into the stands at midwicket.
Rahul, who had consumed 41 deliveries to reach 50, brought up his hundred later in the final over, getting there in 63 balls.
Notable Support Act - Batting
Chris Gayle had three runs from his first seven balls. From the next seven balls, he scored 23 runs – Jason Behrendorff bearing the brunt. Anything in the arc – full or length, was straight out of the park. Hardik Pandya too come in for punishment – this time in ninth night over; a short delivery was deposited into the stands at square-leg, a full delivery was driven through mid-on, and the next legal delivery – a wide off-cutter – was slammed through extra cover.
Gayle was right on top of the MI bowlers, when against the run of play he holed out to deep midwicket; he made 63 from 36 balls, and his knock contained three boundaries and seven sixes.
Standout Bowling performance
Mohammed Shami bowled two exceptional overs upfront; in the powerplay, he conceded just four runs in his first two overs, while also picking up the wicket of the debutant Siddhesh Lad. Kept out of action until the 15th over, he struck twice when called up – dismissing both the Pandya brothers.
Shami was bowled quick with the new ball, but then used change of pace smartly in his second spell; his wicket of Krunal Pandya – caught at cover – was the outcome of deceiving the batsman with an off-cutter.
Though he went wicketless, Rahul Chahar was the Mumbai Indians’ most impressive bowler. Despite being thrown the ball in the eighth over when Gayle and Rahul were running amok, the young leg-spinner held his own and bowled a spell he can be immensely proud of. Chahar conceded a boundary and two sixes, yet only conceded 27 runs in his four overs. He bowled 11 balls to Gayle, off which the Jamaican could only score 14 runs.
Mumbai Indians: 198-7 (Kieron Pollard 83, Mohammed Shami3-21) defeated Kings XI Punjab: 197-4 (KL Rahul 100*, Chris Gayle 63) by 3 wickets.
Stat of the Match
Mumbai Indians’ chase of 198 would the highest run-chase in IPL matches at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
Siddhesh Lad earned his maiden IPL cap after having been part of the Mumbai Indians squad since the 2015 season.
Man of the Match:
Kieron Pollard, for his 31-ball 83.