Mumbai Indians v Rajasthan Royals, IPL, Mumbai April 11, 2012

Pollard power too much for Rajasthan


Mumbai Indians 197 for 6 (Pollard 64, Rayudu 47*) beat Rajasthan Royals 170 (Shah 76, Rahane 40, Munaf 4-28) by 27 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

The scoreboard might not tell you that but Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals gave IPL 2012 its first close high-scoring game as Wankhede Stadium cheered. The 27-run margin did not do justice to Rajasthan Royals for the way they went after an asking-rate of nearly ten an over against a quality bowling attack. This after Kieron Pollard had muscled his way to his highest IPL score and propelled Mumbai Indians to the highest total of this IPL season so far.

Pollard's all-round performance, 64 off 33 deliveries and 4 for 44, left in the shade a dazzling innings of 76 off 42 from Owais Shah, which had rudely threatened to gatecrash what had shaped up to be Pollard's night. Till the end of the 14th over, as Shah kept peppering the on-side rope with boundaries, Royals had an almost even chance. But in a game where no bowler apart from him went for less than seven an over, Lasith Malinga uprooted Shah's off stump with a yorker off the first ball of the 15th.

While Munaf Patel and Pollard ended with four wickets each, it was Malinga's over that turned the game in Mumbai Indians' favour. While Malinga stood out with figures of 4-0-13-2 in a match where 367 runs were scored, it was Pollard who towered above everyone with his all-round performance.

Pollard's assault with the bat helped Mumbai Indians pull away from Rajasthan Royals after the visitors had clawed back with Brad Hogg's two wickets in four balls. Pollard's power also left an important innings from Ambati Rayudu in the shade.

Pollard came in after Hogg, on IPL debut, had dismissed Rohit Sharma and Richard Levi with fizzing left-arm legbreaks. By the time he was dismissed, Pollard had carted Royals' attack with 64, and Mumbai Indians had rocketed from 68 to 164 in the space of 52 balls.

Pollard had no role to play in his first boundary, Hogg's googly beating the batsman on the forward push and going between the wicketkeeper and first slip. It was Rayudu who took on Hogg in the 11th over, slog-sweeping for six over midwicket.

Kevon Cooper's meeting with his Trinidad & Tobago team-mate was much awaited, but Pollard lofted his first ball from his fellow allrounder for six over long-on. Still, Royals had somehow managed to keep the expected torrent of runs down and Mumbai Indians were going around eight an over after 13.

Johan Botha came on in the 14th, and Pollard dispatched his first four balls for boundaries. Botha dragged the first delivery short, tossed the second one up and went wide of Pollard with the third. It made scarce difference to Pollard as he swung all three deliveries between deep midwicket and long-on. His power showed off the fourth ball as even a leading edge beat the sweeper to the deep extra cover rope.

Twenty-three runs came off that Botha over, and the pressure on Royals had increased significantly. Pollard threatened to do an encore of the Botha over in the 17th against Ankeet Chavan, hitting his first delivery so hard that it deflected off the non-striker's stumps to the straight boundary even as umpire Aleem Dar barely got out of the way. The next two balls also disappeared for boundaries but Pollard found long-on off the last ball.

Harbhajan Singh ensured Mumbai Indians did not falter after Pollard's departure and left Royals with a mountain to climb. Munaf removed Rahul Dravid and Shreevats Goswami off consecutive deliveries in the second over to make the ascent appear steeper.

Shah and Ajinkya Rahane, though, almost did a Pollard-and-Rayudu with an 82-run stand off 57. Rahane signalled the start of the fightback with a chipped four over mid-off and a six over deep midwicket in Munaf's next over.

Shah put up a display of sustained calculated hitting, moving around in his crease and using the angle of the deliveries into him to swing for boundaries on the on side. Rahane's fall off Pollard in the 12th over hardly mattered to Shah. Thirty-five runs came off the next two overs, bowled by Harbhajan and Pollard, the latter pulled and slogged for consecutive boundaries.

The equation came down to 64 needed off 36. Harbhajan had saved two overs of Malinga for the death. He was forced to bring him on slightly earlier, but Malinga delivered immediately, Shah backing away too far outside leg to a yorker, which was right on off stump.

Botha followed in the same over, and though Cooper and Ashok Menaria tried, Pollard struck thrice in the 18th over to ensure the night would be only his.

Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on April 12, 2012, 16:23 GMT

    malinga makes the should be RR game bt Malinga ddestroy all! MI should drop franklin

  • Dummy4 on April 12, 2012, 8:34 GMT

    IPL is a tourney where a 44/4(mostly tail enders) in 4 overs can win you a Man of the Match. just LOL. It was Malinga and Munaf who won them the game. If you call Pollards batting supperb, then what do you call Shah's inning? Pollard's an awsome fielder and that's all he is. Way too over-rated.

  • Dummy4 on April 12, 2012, 8:23 GMT

    well watching match in stadium was so boring......u cant get all round view like TV... and never comes to know if he has it 4 or 6 until u see it on site screens.... yesterday MI played well but OVAIS SHAH is like one time customer....nothing much to praise about him.. yes WATSON will make difference for sure.. RR never looked like they are going to cross MI total......

  • Shantanu on April 12, 2012, 7:42 GMT

    It was exciting high scoring game. RR were kept in hunt till the 15th over by Malinga. I thought they were a batsman short. They are playing too many bowling allorunders. For a team for which good bowling result is important RR conceded a bit too many and that was reflected in Rahul Dravid's body language at the end of MI innings. And that is the precise reason he went away so early. 10 an over from beginning is difficult but not an impossible target. You just hope that you would have a good over or two like the last over MI had against DC. I thought MI paced their innings very well.

  • Harish on April 12, 2012, 7:40 GMT

    Finally an exciting game! :) Mumbai better ensure Malinga doesn't get injured at all. Despite all the heroics by Pollard, Malinga is the difference between Mumbai winning and losing. He conceded only 13 runs! When Owais Shah was batting, you could see the Mumbai team was nervous as hell. The man of the match was taken for 44 runs in his 4 overs! I'm surprised so many Mumbai fans are so wishful as to believe MI destroyed RR. If you saw the game, you'd know RR chased brilliantly. I don't think they were a batsman short. Dravid should have played a hand too. I'm sure he will as the tournament progresses, gritty as he is. This Rajasthan team's a good fighting unit. Once Watson joins, and Botha finds his rhythm, Rajasthan will be one formidable team. Add Tait into the mix for the odd game and this team can do some serious damage. I'd love a Pune v Rajasthan final, i.e., Dada v Dravid. The two men who turned Indian cricket around :)

  • Dummy4 on April 12, 2012, 7:33 GMT

    Sachin to Dravid : Sachin: You cant be me without my secret. Dravid: What Secret ?????? Sachin: Bhajji is the secret of MI(my) energy. Bhajji rocks ....

  • $$ milind on April 12, 2012, 6:24 GMT

    MALINGA is only d bowler who loves Indian Subcontinent becoz d fact on bouncy tracks he's really struggled 2 get d bowl up 2 d batsman nor he could utiize he's yorker.....

  • Phani on April 12, 2012, 6:13 GMT

    Really a good match. But i feel like harbhajan singh has given up trying to get back into the indian team. His body language seems like that

  • Dummy4 on April 12, 2012, 6:12 GMT

    @ K.a.l.i.n.g.a_D_w.a.r.r.i.o.R - U r right i posted 5-6 comments in many RR and their players fan pages .

  • Dummy4 on April 12, 2012, 6:10 GMT

    Although everyone in the match played well.. including players from both teams.. but i feel Malinga's over was the turning point..

  • No featured comments at the moment.