When Hyderabad won the toss and put up a huge total batting first against Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium Monday night, they instead found a way to lose after putting runs on the board.
Kieron Pollard, thriving in a sink-or-swim situation, showed that desperation can occasionally be a batsman's ally in a brutal assault that ensured that Mumbai went past Hyderabad's 178 for three with seven wickets in hand and three balls to spare.
The game was in Hyderabad's favour till the 17th over of the chase, bowled by Thisara Perera. Mumbai had reached 117 for three, with Sachin Tendulkar having retired hurt on 38. Rohit Sharma pounced on a long hop, rocking back to hit the ball into the top tier.
A single put Pollard on strike, and mayhem ensued. A four and a trio of sixes took the tally for the over to 29, making a mockery of the required rate. In a bid to staunch the flow, Amith Mishra was brought back, and once again a single from Rohit was followed by three more Pollard sixes. Dale Steyn, consistently magnificent while conceding only 24 from his quota, took the game to the final over.
Hyderabad chose to give Perera a chance to redeem himself, but two more Pollard sixes took the West Indies star's tally to eight for the innings, and the 27-ball 66 put Mumbai on the top of the points table.
The tone for the game was set early on by Parthiv Patel, as Mitchell Johnson first strayed on to the pads and then overcompensated by bowling short and wide outside the off to be pinged for four fours in an over that yielded 19.
Shikhar Dhawan, on whom Hyderabad have leant so heavily for runs, got into the act, upper-cutting Dhawal Kulkarni for the first six of the innings.
With 38 on the board, Parthiv played one shot too many to hole out to square leg. Dhawan got better after his departure, marrying timing with placement to beat the offside field with ease.
Hanuma Vihari, batting at No 3, bedded down to give the innings stability, and protected a partnership that was eventually worth 73 when Dhawan stepped out to Johnson and feathered an edge to the keeper.
Dhawan’s 41-ball 59 ensured that Hyderabad had the perfect launchpad. Vihari continued to build, hitting just four fours in his 41, but Cameron White cleared his front leg and launched the ball into the stands thrice in a 23-ball 43 that took Hyderabad to 178.
Till Pollard’s late assault, it seemed enough.
Anand Vasu is managing editor at Wisden India.
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