It was a Kieron Pollard masterclass which ensured Mumbai Indians won the 24th match of Vivo IPL 12 against the Kings XI Punjab from a hopeless situation. The Windies all-rounder who was leading his franchise for the first time in the absence of regular skipper Rohit Sharma played a captain’s knock of 83 of just 31 deliveries which helped Mumbai clinch the nail-biting thriller.
It was Mumbai Indians stand-in skipper Kieron Pollard who won the toss and put the visitors in. Wankhede has traditionally been a good chasing ground and Mumbai backed themselves to get whatever Punjab set them. Chris Gayle looked in great touch and shared a brilliant opening stand with KL Rahul. The southpaw struck a quickfire half-century which got Punjab off to a sizzling start. ‘
KL Rahul, on the other hand, took his time and build his innings. Gayle was dismissed by Jason Behrendorff which triggered a mini-collapse of sorts. When Gayle and Rahul were going, even a score of 220 seemed possible. However, after the fall of Chris Gayle’s wicket, the scoring rate came down considerably.
It was a great century from KL Rahul which propelled Punjab to a competitive score of 197 in their allotted 20 overs. Rahul took on the likes of Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah in the final few overs to complete his maiden IPL century. He missed out on a century against the same opposition by 6 just runs last year but he did amends and completed the milestone this time around.
Mumbai Indians started off pretty well with debutant Siddhesh Lad beginning his IPL career with a six and a four of his first two deliveries. After a good partnership with Quinton de Kock, it was Mohammed Shami who knocked of Lad’s stumps with a brilliant delivery. Suryakumar Yadav looked in good touch but the loss of two set batsmen in the form of Suryakumar Yadav and De Kock pushed Mumbai Indians to the backfoot.
Kieron Pollard promoted himself up the order and looked in ominous touch from the outset. He struck sixes on a consistent basis which made a huge difference for the three-time champions. On the other hand, Mumbai Indians lost a flurry of wickets in the form of Pandya brothers. Despite the wickets at the other end, Kieron Pollard kept his calm and kept smashing the KXIP bowlers all around the Wankhede Stadium.
His knock of 83 runs came in just 31 deliveries and was studded with 10 fours and 3 sixes. It was power hitting at it’s very best. Finally, when he was dismissed in the final over of Ankit Rajpoot, Mumbai needed just 4 to win off the last 4. Alzarri Joseph took the required double in the final delivery of the match to hand Mumbai Indians a special victory.
Now, this is what the winning skipper and the Man of the Match Kieron Pollard said at the post-match presentation.
I would like to thank God. Need to thank him for giving strength to me for doing the things that I do. Also, love to thank my wife, it’s her birthday today and I want to dedicate this to her. I went up the order because I enjoy batting at Wankhede. The plan was to attack Ashwin as spin wasn’t doing great. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen but it was about staying calm. Was a difficult pitch to bowl on and good to bat on, so we did well with the ball after the start they got.
We did pull things back in the middle overs a bit but lost the plot at the end. Again, can’t be harsh on the bowlers. We finished on the right end of the result and thanks to God for that to. Obviously, Rohit is the captain of the team and it was only a precautionary measure for the team. He should be back in the next game. I would gladly give it back to him and field at the boundary, while also thinking of what to contribute to the team