Chennai v Mumbai, IPL 2013, Chennai April 6, 2013

Pollard trumps Dhoni in close clash

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Mumbai Indians 148 for 6 (Pollard 57*) beat Chennai Super Kings 139 for 9 (Dhoni 51) by nine runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Not many sides win a Twenty20 game from 83 for 6 in the first innings. Not many sides have Kieron Pollard, who once again showed how much damage he can cause if he gets some time in the middle. On a pitch where both line-ups crumbled, barring both No. 6 batsmen, Pollard was the difference, although MS Dhoni almost stole the match from Mumbai Indians' grasp with an ever more outrageous counter-attack. Fittingly, with Chennai Super Kings needing 12 off six, Pollard intercepted what looked set to be another Dhoni six on the deep midwicket boundary, sealing the game for his side with an acrobatic catch.

Pollard had breathed life into a stalled Mumbai Indians innings, which had gone nowhere after Sachin Tendulkar had fallen leg-before to Dirk Nannes in the opening over for a golden duck. Ricky Ponting and Rohit Sharma soon followed Tendulkar. Although Dinesh Karthik looked in fine touch, when he departed for 37, Mumbai Indians were 59 for 4 in the ninth over and the Super Kings seamers were on top.

Pollard batted quite sensibly, willing to go without scoring for several deliveries, knowing that when he wanted, he could always collect six with his power and reach. Half of the 38 deliveries he faced were dots, but he also biffed five sixes. Even when he went for the big strikes, he wasn't taking risk. He would just lean forward to length or full deliveries and lift them over long-on.

From 83 for 6, to add 65 in eight overs, with Harbhajan Singh for company, was quite an achievement. Harbhajan's contribution, a run a ball 21, was crucial. Carefree swiping was put away and the strike was turned over. When it wasn't, to Pollard's disappointment in the final over, Harbhajan himself found the boundary. Pollard cracked Dwayne Bravo's final ball of the innings over long-on to ensure there would at least be a contest in the game.

There almost wasn't one, though, as the Super Kings batsmen played a series of poor shots to leave their side gasping at 66 for 5. M Vijay walked too far across to be bowled, Michael Hussey missed a slog to be bowled, Bravo drove loosely, and S Badrinath went too far back when he should have been forward.

Dhoni walked in, and the match started to turn. An upper cut appeared, a whiplash drive, a calm pull. Soon the long-on and deep midwicket boundary was being peppered with monster sixes, even as batsmen kept arriving and departing at the other end. Pollard took the most punishment, five of Dhoni's eight boundaries coming off him.

Forty needed off 18. Dhoni lashed 17 off a Pollard over. 23 needed off 12. Dhoni found the stands at deep midwicket again, this time off Mitchell Johnson, to zoom to 50 off 24. Both Pollard and Johnson sprayed a couple of wides each, such was the effect Dhoni's assault had.

First ball of Munaf Patel's final over, Dhoni went for six more, targetting deep midwicket again, but this time, the towering figure of Pollard stood in the way, and made one final, decisive impact.

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • mukugamer on April 8, 2013, 12:51 GMT

    this was a nerve wrecking contest i wanted csk to win i dont think any other man other than pollard could have caught that last over catch

  • ladycricfan on April 8, 2013, 8:43 GMT

    Rohit was definitely out. Sachin and karthik lbws could've gone either way. But decisions were not howlers. Badri's lbw - not out. Ball would've missed the leg stump. Badri should've come at the fall of Raina's wicket. He would've steadied the innings. With Albie's absence Bravo should've batted down the order. Jadeja should've bowled his all four overs. He troubled Pollard and dropped him off his own bowling. For his standard it was an easy catch......Some suggestions from an armchair critic with the help of hindsight to our very own captain cool genius MSD.

  • dummy4fb on April 8, 2013, 8:10 GMT

    i still prefer playing classic players rather than hard hitters and the thing you all wish to overlook is 3 wrong decisions that affected MI...cmon Sachin Karthik and Rohit wernt out even the commentators said...n watever you say sachin wasnt out ! and seeing this commenting that he aint performing is wrong

  • TheOnlyEmperor on April 8, 2013, 6:24 GMT

    Somebody in the CSK camp should give a piece of their mind to Vijay on the shot he played. One doesn't have to score stupid shots to score runs, especially as an opener when the team score is just 10. Badri is a liability with a strike rate that will never get the team anywhere. I would rather that Anirudh Shrikant takes his place. Bravo is not a very imaginative batsman at the top of the innings. He should be pushed lower down and asked to slog. I would want the Chennai batting order to be Vijay, DuPlessis, Raina, Jadeja, Dhoni, Bravo, Aniruddh, Ashwin, etc. Dhoni must ensure that he is in latest by the 13 over. As for MI, the order should be Dwayne, Sachin, Pollard, Ponting, Kartik, Rohit, Rayudu, Johnson, Bhajji.. This order would be awesome! Question to Ponder: Why are supposedly world class players so stuck up about their batting positions?

  • ooper_cut on April 8, 2013, 6:03 GMT

    Was nice seeing old pros Sachin & Ponting opening the innings together in their first match against RCB, but now that the show is over, there needs to be some changes in the MI lineup. They lost the game against RCB which they should have won almost lost this one against CSK too.

  • Temuzin on April 7, 2013, 22:05 GMT

    @ A__J Totally agree with you Dhoni is the king of superkings. Man what a player, Thrills every one when in full flow. Even the Dhoni bashers like AlexK400 admire him secretly.

  • A__J on April 7, 2013, 20:06 GMT

    Dhoni played like a true pro finisher, he seemed totally cool and collected which allows him to chase down any total!! Chennai is really lucky to have him with the bat and as a captain

  • Angry_Bowler on April 7, 2013, 20:04 GMT

    Some people, who don't know about the game or totally biased, keep saying there are better wicket keeper batsmen in India than Dhoni. You know what they are all a light year behind him. He is not only best in India but the best in the world. I am not CSK fan but the king of super kings.

  • dummy4fb on April 7, 2013, 17:25 GMT

    shankupals, I didn't say Pollard batted up the order. The dismissals forced his early arrival; and the team stood benefited. Read carefully before commenting, please.

  • Temuzin on April 7, 2013, 16:10 GMT

    MSD, simply genius of cricket. Gutsy, powerful and confident. Bowlers beware of a great called MSD. Hail Dhoni. You are destined to give many fans a hear attack by your superlative batting.