IPL 2014 Results: Pollard Blitz Not Enough as Mumbai Indians Crash to Sunrisers Hyderabad
By Deepak Vikraman | May 1, 2014 4:31 AM EST
Kieron Pollard, when he is on song, with those sixes coming off the blade easier than a hot knife through butter, is a T20 joy to behold. The big West Indian played one of those blinders that has made him one of the most coveted T20 players in the world, but even a monster innings from Pollard could not bring about a win for the Mumbai Indians, who just cannot seem to even buy a victory in IPL 2014.
In a high-scoring humdinger, the Sunrisers Hyderabad, equally desperate for a win, after three losses in their first four matches, and the Mumbai Indians provided a wonderful contest in the final IPL 7 match in UAE, with the Dubai crowd treated to some sumptuous six-hitting, and extremely hostile bowling (read Dale Steyn).
At the end of an enthralling 20 overs, it was the Sunrisers Hyderabad who ran away winners, by 15 runs, with their first innings total of 172 for five, courtesy nice knocks from David Warner (65) and KL Rahul (46), proving to be too much for MI.
The defending champions, who finished on 157 for seven, their highest score in this season's IPL by some distance, will at least take the consolation of a decent batting innings back to India, with Pollard's (78) form, no doubt, the biggest plus.
With Ben Dunk replacing Michael Hussey in the lineup, MI would have hoped for a better opening, but the pressure was put on the middle order again with two quick wickets falling in the first three overs.
Captain Rohit Sharma, who turned 27 on Wednesday, did not have a happy birthday, with the right-hander seeing the ball go through his gate to smash onto his stumps off a peach of a delivery from Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Corey Anderson was then sent packing by Steyn, with the South African, tearing in like an angry lion, making the New Zealand all-rounder jump all over the place, before forcing an I-want-to-run-away-from-here fended glove catch to the wicketkeeper.
Dunk hung around for a while, hitting four boundaries in his 20-run knock from 17 balls, with Sammy castling the left-hander in the sixth over to put MI on 31 for three.
With no big batsmen to come, Ambati Rayudu and Pollard had to put on a big partnership, and the experienced Mumbai Indians duo did just that putting on 77 runs in just 9.3 overs.
The two right-handers took their time in the middle, settled the innings down, before going bonkers from over 13, with the equation being brought down to 67 from the final five overs, following a three-over blitz.
With the game being taken by the scruff of the neck by Pollard and Rayudu, Shikhar Dhawan took a punt by giving the ball to Irfan Pathan, and the ploy worked with the left-armer picking up Rayudu (35, 27b, 5x4), who holed out in the deep to David Warner.
Pollard, though, was in unstoppable, I-shall-hit-you-for-a-boundary-every-ball-just-because-I-can mode, with the big West Indian finding his mojo in some style, slapping Amit Mishra (4-0-54-0) for 27 runs in one over, which included three brilliant consecutive sixes straight down the ground.
Thanks to just one over, the target was brought down from 58 in four overs to a very gettable 31 from 18 deliveries.
Dhawan, desperate for a break in the run-scoring, brought his two trump cards- Steyn (4-0-20-2) and Bhuvneshwar (4-0-17-2) - with the pace duo doing their jobs brilliantly well, conceding just 11 runs amongst themselves in the next two overs to make it 20 needed from the final over.
So, time for Pollard (78, 48b, 3x4, 6x6) then to smash three more sixes? Not quite, as Pathan (two for 10) became the man of the moment, striking timber off the very first delivery of the last over to send the big man packing.
With 20 still needed from the final five balls, it was curtains for MI as they ended their UAE sojourn without a single win in five games.
Earlier, Warner took the mantle upon himself after early wickets of Shikhar Dhawan and Aaron Finch dented the Sunrisers, with youngster Rahul playing a wonderful innings of his own to help push the total above 170.
Dhawan's struggles continued, with the skipper unable to make an impression again, edging one to Harbhajan Singh in the slips off a nicely shaped away swinger from Zaheer Khan.
Finch, SRH's best batsman in the IPL so far, looked good in his 15-ball 16-run (3x4) stay, but an attempt to clear the in-field off Zaheer in the fifth over, led to his demise with Dunk taking a simple enough catch in the covers.
At 38 for two in five overs, a partnership was essential for the Sunrisers, and a partnership was produced, a brilliant one at that, of 111 from 13.2 overs between Warner, who dropped down to No. 4, and Rahul.
Both players batted quite intelligently, picking their spots for the boundaries, while ensuring they kept rotating the strike with the left and right-hand combination causing MI further problems.
Warner was his usual T20 self, producing a few massive sixes, with the left-hander particularly severe on Pragyan Ojha, who went for 43 runs from his three overs. Warner, never a dull moment when he is around, also produced some outrageous shots, playing a couple of wicked switch hits, while that particular shot would also lead to his dismissal, with the Australian getting into a bit of verbals with Kieron Pollard and Zaheer for good measure as well.
At the other end, Rahul (46, 40b, 3x4) was showing just why he scored buckets of runs for Karnataka in the Ranji Trophy, playing some delightful cricketing shots, while also ensuring he was never bogged down. The 22-year-old was the perfect ally for Warner, with the duo running away with the innings with their outstanding century partnership.
As the overs wore down, the inevitable wickets came about, with Warner (65, 51b, 1x4, 4x6) edging one off Corey Anderson, who was puzzlingly asked to bowl his only over of the innings in the 19th of all overs, while Darren Sammy and Naman Ojha scored 20 runs combined from just eight balls to take SRH to a strong total, a total they managed to defend to pick up their second win in five.
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