Stephen Fleming, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) head coach has said that there was a reason why CSK skipper MS Dhoni kept a spread-out field on the last ball against Mumbai Indians batsman Kieron Pollard even though Mumbai Indians (MI) needing just two runs to win.
Stephen Fleming suggested that CSK was wary of Kieron Pollard’s big-hitting prowess, so there were fielders stationed at the boundary. Kieron Pollard scored a swashbuckling unbeaten 87 off only 34 balls, hitting six fours and eight maximums, as MI overhauled a stiff 219-run target off the last ball to produce their highest successful chase in IPL history.
Stephen Fleming: Kieron Pollard Is A Good Timer Of The Ball And CSK Was Unsure Of What He Will Do Next
Defying conventional wisdom, MS Dhoni kept most of his fielders outside the 30-yeard circle on the last ball. Pacer Lungi Ngidi bowled a sharp yorker, which elicited a grounded hit to long-on from Kieron Pollard. The deep fielder made a fine effort but couldn’t stop the batting pair from completing two runs and seal the win for MI.
Addressing the post-match press conference, coach Stephen Fleming said that he was not surprised to see a spread field, as CSK was looking for a lucky run-out or a 2019 IPL final-like finish to win the game.
“Not really (if he was surprised to see the field). Pollard is such a good timer of the ball that you never know what he’s going to do. Got so much to win, to be honest, we were looking for something like the stumps being hit or like the result we had when we got beaten in the (2019) final.
“So we’ll go have a look over that. I think there are a lot of other instances that we’ll have a look at rather than just the last ball,” said Stephen Fleming.
In a similar match situation in the summit clash of IPL 2019, MI’s veteran pacer yorker specialist Lasith Malinga bowled a slow, dipping yorker to dismiss Shardul Thakur off the last ball to seal his team’s title with a one-run win.
Stephen Fleming explained that as Kieron Pollard was in such good touch, having already hit 6 fours and 8 sixes in his knock, they thought he would once again go for the big hit; or maybe hit the stumps – as in the 2019 IPL final.
Rohit Sharma Rates Kieron Pollard’s Innings One Of The Best Ever
Rohit Sharma was all praise for Kieron Pollard after MI’s stunning way, rating the big West Indian’s knock one the best he has ever seen.
“I have never seen a chase like that before. One of the best innings from Polly. Brilliant to see that from the outside. Very proud of the efforts the boys put in,” said Sharma in the post-match presentation.
Kieron Pollard not only shone with the bat but also picked up two crucial wickets – Suresh Raina and Faf du Plessis – in the middle overs to return with figures of 2/12. Unsurprisingly, the MI all-rounder was deservingly awarded the Player of the Match for his fabulous all-round performance.
Kieron Pollard hit nearly everything that was bowled at him on Saturday as he hit 8 sixes and 6 boundaries to pull off one of the most spectacular chases in the IPL history. CSK’s Ambati Rayudu hit 7 sixes for his 27-ball 62 not after hitting his fifty in just 20 balls but it went in vain as CSK lost despite scoring 218/4.
For CSK, opener Faf du Plessis scored 50 off 28 balls and Moeen Ali scored 58 off 36 balls besides Ambati Rayudu who scored 72 in a mere 27 balls and remained unbeaten. For MI, Quinton de Kock, Rohit Sharma, and Krunal Pandya scored in excess of 30 but Kieron Pollard’s unbeaten 87 off 34 balls turned the match in MI’s favour.
Brief Scores: Mumbai Indians: 219/6 (Kieron Pollard 87*, Quinton de Kock 38; Sam Curran 3-34) beat Chennai Super Kings: 218/4 (Ambati Rayudu 72, Moeen Ali 58; Kieron Pollard 2-12) by 4 wickets.