IPL 2021: Pollard powers Mumbai Indians past CSK

James Jose/Dubai
Filed on May 1, 2021
Kieron Pollard of the Mumbai Indians plays a shot against the Chennai Super Kings in New Delhi on Saturday night. — BCCI/IPL

The West Indian smokes an astonishing eight sixes and six fours in an unbeaten 87 to halt Chennai's five-match win streak

Ambati Rayudu had gone on a blitzkrieg earlier. And Kieron Pollard matched that and, in fact, bettered it.

The towering West Indian launched a ruthless assault, striking the fastest half-century of this season as reigning champions the Mumbai Indians pulled off a heist against the Chennai Super Kings on Saturday night.

Faced with a daunting 219 to win, Pollard came up with the perfect riposte after the Mumbai Indians had suffered a collapse following a bright start, to take them over the line by four wickets, in a dramatic last-ball finish in New Delhi.

Pollard, who turns 34 on May 12, showed he hadn’t slowed down one bit despite age catching up and displayed the same fire in his belly that has won many a matches in franchise leagues around the world, not to mention the West Indies.

The Trinidadian struck blow after blow, like a boxer, to wrestle the game away from the hands of the Chennai Super Kings.

He smoked an astonishing eight sixes and six boundaries around the Feroz Shah Kotla, in an unbeaten 87 from just 34 deliveries, with his 16th IPL fifty coming from just 17 balls, to leave everyone awestruck and speechless. With two runs needed off the last ball bowled by South African pacer Lungi Ngidi, Pollard and Dhawal Kulkarni scampered home for a famous win in the IPL’s ‘El Clasico.’

That not only brought up a fourth victory for the record five-time champions but also halted the five-match win streak of three-time winners the Chennai Super Kings.

Earlier, Ambati Rayudu blitzed a quickfire half-century, his first this season, while Moeen Ali and opener Faf du Plessis too scored fifties as the Chennai Super Kings put up a mammoth total.

Rayudu coshed an unbeaten 72 from just 27 deliveries, smoking seven sixes and four boundaries, Moeen cracked 58 from 36 deliveries, spiced with five boundaries and an equal number of sixes, while du Plessis hit a 28-ball 50 with four sixes and two fours, his fourth successive fifty and 20th in the IPL, as CSK recovered from an early blip and a mini-collapse in the middle, to rack up 218-4.

The Chennai Super Kings lost opener Ruturaj Gaikwad early but du Plessis and Moeen forged together a 108-run stand for the second wicket, from just 61 balls.

But they lost three wickets in the space of two overs as Mumbai Indians pulled things back a bit. After Jasprit Bumrah had Moeen caught by wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock, Kieron Pollard struck twin blows, removing du Plessis and Suresh Raina, who was playing his 200th game, off consecutive deliveries.

But Ambati Rayudu and Ravindra Jadeja reignited the innings with the former going for broke against the Mumbai Indians bowling attack. He hit them to all parts of the park and brought up his fifty from just 20 balls.

The pair also came up with a mammoth 102-run partnership from just 56 balls, for the unbroken fifth wicket. Jadeja remained not out on a run-a-ball 22 with two fours.

Jasprit Bumrah leaked 56 runs in his four overs, taking one wicket — his most expensive spell in the competition.

The Mumbai Indians made two changes with Jimmy Neesham replacing Jayant Yadav, while Dhawal Kulkarni came in for Nathan Coulter-Nile. Neesham, who previously played for Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings) and the Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals), was bought during the mini-auction and was playing his first game of the season.

The Chennai Super Kings went in with the same line-up that had beaten Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Next up, Mumbai Indians face Sunrisers Hyderabad on Tuesday, while the Chennai Super Kings meet the Rajasthan Royals on Wednesday.

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