5 times Kieron Pollard stole victory from jaws of defeat for MI | Five instances of Pollard stealing the victory from the jaws of defeat for Mumbai Indians
In an unfortunate series of events, the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) was recently postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
We saw some really fabulous games this season, with the best one undoubtedly being the MI vs CSK classic. The game truly justified the reason of being termed as the “El classico” of the IPL, with the Mumbai Indians winning the game in the very last ball, courtesy a tremendous knock of 87 off just 34 balls by Kieron Pollard.
How many times have we seen the legendary all-rounder rescuing MI from a disastrous position? The number is certainly very large, isn’t it? In this article, I am going to highlight five such instances other than the recent one where Pollard proved to be the “one man army” for MI. Let’s revisit those magnificent knocks.
5. 70 (47) vs RCB, 2017
This was the 12th match of the 10th edition of the IPL and MI were facing the Virat Kohli-led RCB in their own den. After being asked to bat first, RCB managed to put a moderate total of 142 for the loss of 5 wickets, thanks to a knock of 62 off 47 balls by their skipper, Kohli.
In reply, Mumbai Indians started their innings in the most horrible fashion as Samuel Badree destroyed their top order by picking 4 wickets in his first four overs. Mumbai were reeling at 33 for 5 after 8 overs at one stage, when Krunal Pandya joined Kieron Pollard in the middle. There was some assistance for the spinners as the wicket was on the slower side and the ball was keeping a bit low as well.
So, as you can imagine, it was an extremely tough situation to score 110 runs in the remaining 12 overs with Hardik Pandya being the only specialist batsman to come next. In such a tricky situation, but Pollard held his nerves and settled things well supported by Krunal. He understood the demands of the track and batted accordingly. He placed the good deliveries into gaps, rotated the strike and capitalized on the loose deliveries. He got set eventually and played shots all around the park, particularly against Yuzi Chahal and Pawan Negi. He hit 3 fours and 5 huge sixes on his way to 70 off 47.
Although he got out in the 18th over, he had already made the victory possible for MI, as they needed just 17 runs from 15 balls then, which was done comfortably by Hardik and Krunal.
4. 83 (31) vs KXIP, 2019
This was the 24th match of IPL 2019 and KXIP posted a very healthy total of 197 after being asked to bat first, thanks to a century by KL Rahul and a blistering knock of 63 by Chris Gayle.
In the absence of Rohit Sharma, Mumbai started the chase a bit slowly and lost their top 3 within 9 overs at a score of 62. Kieron Pollard, who was leading MI that day, formed a partnership of a quick 32 runs with the young Ishan Kishan, from which the contribution of the latter was just 7 runs. MI were on spot of a bother as they were placed at 94 for 4 and needed 104 runs in the remaining 8 overs with only Hardik and Krunal Pandya to come as specialist batsmen.
In such a tragic scenario, Kieron Pollard did what he is known for, i.e. counter attack. He launched the attack especially on R Ashwin and Sam Curran and smashed 10 huge sixes en route his 83. After the Pandya brothers were dismissed, he took MI close to the total alongside Alzarri Joseph, which left MI needing 15 runs in the final over with 4 wickets in hand. Pollard hit a six in the first ball which was a “no ball” and a four in the free hit delivery. Although he got out in the very next delivery, he almost finished the game for MI. The remaining 4 runs were scored comfortably by Alzarri Joseph and Rahul Chahar. An amazing knock.
3. 51*(17) vs KKR, 2016
In my opinion, this was one of the most dominant knocks Kieron Pollard has ever played in the IPL. This was the 24th match of IPL 2016 and KKR posted a decent total of 174 after being asked to bat first.
In reply, MI lost their first wicket in the form of Parthiv Patel in the 7th ball of the innings. After that, Ambati Rayudu and Rohit Sharma formed a very good partnership of 59 runs in 34 balls for the 2nd wicket. But after Rayudu got out to Shakib in the 7th over, MI lost 2 more wickets in quick succession in the form of Krunal Pandya and Jos Buttler, which left them placed at 106 for 4 at the end of the 13th over. Kieron Pollard joined the skipper Rohit Sharma in the middle with MI needing 69 in the remaining 7 overs. The speciality of this knock was he didn’t try to take the game deep like he does on most of the occasions. He hammered the KKR bowlers mercilessly and took MI home within no time. His unbeaten knock of 51 off just 17 balls included 2 fours and 6 humongous sixes. It came like a hurricane, by literally blew KKR away and MI chased the target with two overs to spare.
2. 41* (25) vs CSK, IPL 2019 Final
This knock is an integral part of the numerous sweet chapters of the love affair between Kieron Pollard and the Chennai Super Kings. This knock might look like just another decent T20 knock, but in reality it was a priceless one in the context of the match as well as the situation in which it was played by the big man.
It was the final of the 12th edition of the IPL and MI decided to bat first after winning the toss. Their openers Quinton De kock and Rohit Sharma gave them a good start and they were 45 for no loss after 4.4 overs. But, after De kock’s dismissal, their batting lineup crumbled and soon they found themselves in big trouble. They lost 4 more wickets in regular intervals and were placed at 101 for 5 in 14.4 overs.
The scoring rate was going down and the pressure of the final was building on their batsmen. But, they had their best man to deal with the pressure, Kieron Pollard. He formed a very crucial partnership of 39 runs from 22 balls with Hardik Pandya for the 6th wicket, from which his contribution was 23 off 12 balls. He hit two consecutive fours in the last 2 balls of the innings against Dwayne Bravo, which let MI post a defendable total of 149.
MI created history by defending this total and becoming the first ever IPL team to lift the trophy for the fourth time. As they won the game by just 1 run, this knock of 41* off 25 balls holds significant importance in the rich history of the most successful IPL franchise.
1. 60* (32) vs CSK, 2013 Final
This is my personal favourite knock of Kieron Pollard as it played a huge role in MI becoming the IPL champions for the very first time. After opting to bat first, MI started their innings in a poor manner by losing 4 quick wickets which left them reeling at 52 for 4 in 9.3 overs when Pollard joined Ambati Rayudu in the middle.
They both were the rescuers of the Mumbai Indians from tough situations at that time and they did the same yet again that night in the all important final. Pollard played the role of the aggressor and played his shots freely whenever he got chances and Rayudu supported him well. When Rayudu got out in the 16th over, MI were placed at just 100 and therefore needed a strong finish to post a defendable total. Pollard, supported by the tail enders, went bonkers and smashed the CSK bowlers, especially Dwayne Bravo, and took 13 runs in the very last over with 2 consecutive sixes in the last 2 balls of the innings. His unbeaten knock of 60, involving 7 fours and 3 sixes, came in just 32 balls. His heroics powered MI to 148 from a horrible situation and the MI bowlers defended the total successfully, by virtue of which MI won their first title by a margin of 23 runs.
“When the pressure is highest and the lights are brightest, only the strongest will thrive”. Kieron Pollard has always proved this quote practically on the field and these were just 5 instances of his countless magnificent knocks for the Mumbai Indians. As one of his biggest fans, it’s my tribute to one of the most dependable and successful finishers in T20 history.
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Written by Debashish Sarangi. Follow Debashish on Twitter today.