x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Indian Premier League: Mumbai clinch thriller after Dhoni's cameo for Chennai

Kieron Pollard anchors total for visitors and takes a stunning catch to end captain's fightback who threatened to win the game single-handedly.

A file photo of Kieron Pollard, who played a excellent knock earlier for Mumbai to give them a fighting total. Daniel Berehulak / IPL
A file photo of Kieron Pollard, who played a excellent knock earlier for Mumbai to give them a fighting total. Daniel Berehulak / IPL

Toss Mumbai, chose to bat
Mumbai Pollard 57 not out, Karthik 37; Bravo 2-44
Chennai Dhoni 51, Patel 3-29, Ojha 2-16, Harbhajan 2-31
Man of the match Kieron Pollard (Mumbai)

CHENNAI //  Mumbai Indians' reluctance to give Kieron Pollard an opportunity to express himself higher up the batting order has been hard to fathom. But when the top order collapsed before the tenth over in their IPL clash against Chennai Super Kings on Saturday, he had the opportunity to showcase his prowess. He did not disappoint.

Pollard not only proved to be a fine finisher, but someone capable of nurdling the ball and playing sensibly in the middle overs.

His 38-ball 57 helped Mumbai post a competitive 148 for 6. Job with the bat done, he was then magnificent in the field as Mumbai clinched a thriller by nine runs.

With 12 needed off the last over, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who had smashed 51 from just 25 balls, heaved a Munaf Patel delivery towards the rope at deep midwicket. As most eyeballs went beyond the boundary, Pollard leapt like a performing seal to pull off a stunner and clinch the game.

Mumbai so nearly came under Dhoni's wheels towards the end despite Chennai being behind in the game for at least 37 of the 40 overs. The loss of wickets at one end notwithstanding, Dhoni nearly calculated his onslaught to perfection.

It was Pollard's burst with the bat that galvanised Mumbai. Chennai's reply was muted from the outset as Munaf dismissed Murali Vijay (5) in the second over.

Michael Hussey, who played a couple of sparkling strokes, had slices of luck when he was dropped in two consecutive overs off Mitchell Johnson. However, Johnson didn't let that deflate him as he set up Suresh Raina with the short ball-full delivery routine.

When Hussey’s luck finally ran out, bowled trying to heave Harbhajan Singh over cow corner, Chennai were in trouble at 42 for 3 in the eighth over.

That was the moment when Ricky Ponting introduced Pragyan Ojha in an effort to stifle the flow of runs, a move which paid off when he dismissed Dwayne Bravo (10) and S Badrinath (16) in consecutive overs. Dhoni then crunched five fours and three sixes to briefly leave Mumbai shellshocked.

Mumbai's recovery with the bat was also courtesy Harbhajan, who made an unbeaten run-a-ball 21 in the company of Pollard.

The duo shared an unbeaten 65 for the seventh wicket after Mumbai were tottering at 83 for 6 in the 12th over after opting to bat. Dinesh Karthik, coming off a 37-ball 60 against Royal Challengers Bangalore, looked in fine nick before being dismissed for 37.

Sachin Tendulkar made a first-ball duck, and a crowd used to fawning over him wasted no time in waving their yellow flags. A few others were left shaking their heads in disappointment. In the end, the frowns summed up the mood in the Chennai camp as they opened their campaign with a demoralising loss.

Shashank Kishore is a sub editor at Widen India

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