APRIL 10, 2019
Brief Scorecard: Mumbai Indians 198 for 7 (Pollard 83, Shami 3-21) beat Kings XI Punjab 197 for 4 (Rahul 100*, Gayle 63, Hardik 2-57) by three wickets
MUMBAI – Kieron Pollard’s 83 off 31 balls eclipsed Chris Gayle’s storming 63 and KL Rahul’s unbeaten century, as Mumbai Indians’ stand-in captain single-handedly took on a chase of 198 and led his side to a three-wicket win at the Wankhede stadium. Mumbai needed 133 to win off their last ten overs – a feat no IPL team had achieved before – and they sneaked home in a nail-biting finish.
In the absence of Rohit Sharma, who was rested as a precautionary measure after he suffered a muscle spasm in his right leg yesterday, Pollard took control and promoted himself to No. 4. He tore into the Kings XI bowling, especially the left-arm seam of Sam Curran, who went for 54 runs in his four overs, 17 of them coming off the penultimate over.
With 15 required off the last over, Pollard smashed a six and a four off Ankit Rajpoot before miscuing a pull to David Miller at deep midwicket. The equation was now four off four balls, and Alzarri Joseph and Rahul Chahar hauled the hosts over the line with their frenetic running between the wickets.
Quick, slow, quick
Having opted to bowl, Mumbai could not keep the opening pair of Gayle and Rahul quiet beyond the fourth over. Having made just 20 off the first four overs, Gayle and Rahul took turns to punish the bowlers in the next five overs, belting them for 66 runs. Kings XI’s score after the first half of their innings was an imposing 93 without loss.
Gayle did most of the damage, taking 22 off Jason Behrendorff in the fifth over and 14 off Hardik in the ninth. He brought up a 31-ball fifty in the 11th over, swatting Krunal over long-on for the sixth six of his innings. Rahul, not taking too many risks, brought up a fifty of his own, two overs later, off 40 balls.
The dismissal of Gayle in the 13th over came at the start of what eventually proved a fatal slowdown for Kings XI. Only 30 runs came in the five overs from the 13th to the 17th, and at the end of that spell Rahul was batting on 64 off 52.
Sam Curran brought some urgency into the innings with successive fours off Jasprit Bumrah in the 18th over, and Rahul took the baton upon his dismissal, scoring 36 off the last 12 balls of his innings, including hitting Hardik Pandya for 6, 6, 4, 6 in a 25-run 19th over. Even so, his 63-ball ton was the joint fifth-slowest in IPL history.
Mumbai’s early stutter
The Kings XI bowling unit, especially Mohammed Shami, stifled Mumbai’s top order in the first half of the innings. Debutant Siddhesh Lad, who scored his first IPL runs with a six and a four off Rajpoot, fell to a full one from Shami in the fourth over. Shami had cramped him for room with his first three deliveries, and then knocked back his leg stump when he tried to walk across his stumps to manufacture a shot.
Just when Suryakumar Yadav and Quinton de Kock were pulling things back, Curran halted Mumbai’s progress by snaffling out Yadav in the eighth over. Ashwin had de Kock caught in the deep in the next over, for 24. That would remain the second-highest score of the innings.
Captain Pollard to the rescue
Pollard continued from where he’d left against Sunrisers Hyderabad last week. Mumbai were 58 for 2 after 8 overs, and with the chase running out of steam, the onus was on Pollard to play a blinder. And he did exactly that. He changed the course of the game in the 12th over, punishing Curran for 18 runs. Off the last ball of the over, however, Curran effected a brilliant run-out to send back the non-striker Ishan Kishan. With that, Hardik Pandya joined Pollard, but even he couldn’t do much, scoring 19 off 11 before spooning Mohammed Shami to long-on. Krunal Pandya departed in the same over, and Pollard was now truly on his own.
Still, he kept his cool, and sent powerful hits to all parts of the ground – he hit ten sixes in all. He went after Curran in particular, making use of the ample room he provided, and smoked him for 47 off 15 balls.