x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Kieron Pollard shines to put Mumbai Indians top of the IPL

Hits 64 off 33 balls and then takes four wickets to inspire side to success over Rajasthan Royals.

Kieron Pollard struck 64 with the bat for the Mumbai Indians and then took four wickets.
Kieron Pollard struck 64 with the bat for the Mumbai Indians and then took four wickets.

Back in 2010, four Indian Premier League teams made the maximum bid of US$750,000 (Dh2.7m) in an attempt to buy the services of Kieron Pollard.

It was the Mumbai Indians who got the West Indies all-rounder after a tiebreaker during the auction, and they have retained his services ever since.

The 24 year old gave a strong reminder last night of just he was so in demand for the shortest form of the game as he shone with both bat and ball as Mumbai moved to the top of the table with a high-scoring 27-run victory over the Rajasthan Royals last night.

He firstly rescued the Mumbai innings when they appeared in danger of wasting a good start, hitting 64 off just 33 balls as the team rocketed to 197 for six, the highest score of the tournament to date.

The big hitting from Owais Shah (76) and Akinkya Rahane (40) had kept Rajasthan in the hunt in their reply, but three wickets in an over from Pollard killed off any hope of an amazing run chase as he finished with figures of four for 44.

Pollard was delighted with the result, which he hoped would kick start Mumbai into consistent form after they had lost to the Pune Warriors and escaped with a last-ball win at the Deccan Chargers.

"The team needed that impetus," he said. "Royals played really well, but we knew 10-11 runs every over would be difficult, fantastic atmosphere."

After being put in Mumbai got off to a rapid start with Richard Levi (29) and Rohit Sharma (21) both hitting early sixes.

But both were bowled by Brad Hogg, the Australian spinner, and Mumbai were wobbling at 68 for three.

But Pollard, supported by Ambati Rayudu (47 not out) took centre stage, as he struck six boundaries and four sixes.

He and Rayudu put on 96 in just 46 balls before he holed out to Rahane off the bowling of Ankeet Chavan.

It looked as if it would be a one-sided affair when Munaf Patel (four for 28) struck twice in the second over to leave Rajasthan floundering at seven for two.

But Shah and Rahane had other ideas with a stand of 82 for the third wicket.

Shah struck five fours and five sixes and Rajasthan appeared to have a chance when they needed 64 off the remaining six overs.

ButHarbhajan turned to Lasith Malinga, and the Sri Lankan bowler turned the game as he yorked Shah with the first ball of his new spell, and then dismissed Johan Botha (two) three balls later.

Pollard dismissed Ashok Menaria, Chavan and Amit Singh in the 17th over to effectively end the game as a contest, but Harbhajan felt bringing back Malinga had been key to securing their third successive win.

"Malinga you can bring him any time and he can take wickets," he said. "If Shah had batted three more overs the game would have finished."

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