MUMBAI – An unreal Kieron Pollard blitz transformed a daunting 179-run chase into a cakewalk for Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede today, as he tore the match from Sunrisers Hyderabad’s grip in a seven-ball stretch that yielded 36. At the end of the assault, Mumbai dethroned Chennai Super Kings and rose to No.1 in the Indian Premier League.
Sixes rained down on a delirious Mumbai crowd, whom for much of the run chase may have anticipated the hosts’ first loss at home this season. But with 62 needed from the last four overs, 29 was plundered in the 17th from Thisara Perera, in which he bowled three balls in Pollard’s slot and was duly smashed over the straight boundary three times, after Rohit Sharma had already hit a six earlier in the over.
Pollard had had no answer to an intense Dale Steyn, who conceded only four runs in the 16th over, making a turnaround seem all the more unlikely. But Sunrisers’ supporting cast could not muster death-over competence, and the 21-runs off Amit Mishra’s 18th over effectively sealed the match for Mumbai. Having been 9 runs off 10 balls at the end of Steyn’s over, Pollard finished with 66 from 27, ending the match with two massive leg-side sixes off Perera, whose confidence was clearly shattered by then. Pollard bludgeoned eight sixes in all, and one four, and despite Steyn’s final over going for only five, Mumbai reaped 67 from the last 21 balls of the match.
The late heroics had followed 16 overs of somewhat meandering batting from Mumbai, who attacked in bursts, but seemed largely content to allow the asking rate to mount – perhaps anticipating a late rally, though even they could not have imagined that Pollard would be so punishing nor Sunrisers so generous. Having been relatively cautious towards the start of his innings, Sachin Tendulkar had looked set to accelerate through the middle overs, but he hurt his bottom hand after striking Karan Sharma over long-on for six, and was forced to retire hurt for 38 off 31 balls. Dinesh Karthik chipped in a 30 off 23 balls, and helped keep wickets in hand, which paid rich dividends in the final countdown for the hosts.
Sunrisers’ 178 for 3 had been set up by Shikhar Dhawan, who hit 59 from 41 at the start of the innings, and finished by Cameron White, who blasted 43 from 23.
Sunrisers scored only 33 off their last four overs, while Mumbai doubled that during their surge to victory.
Sunrisers must now win both their remaining games to stand a decent chance of making the playoffs. (cricinfo)††
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