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Plays of the day from the match between Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers Hyderabad in Mumbai
Andrew Fidel Fernando
May 13, 2013
Dale Steyn's 16th over brought only four runs for the hosts, taking the required run rate beyond 15 to make a home victory seem increasingly unlikely. But with the help of some poor Sunrisers death-bowling, Pollard transformed the outlook of the match in eight balls. He got the strike after Rohit Sharma had already struck a six over square leg in the 17th over, but despite that, Thisara Perera banged one in short again, and Pollard flat-batted it over mid-off for four to herald his charge. The next two, which fell right in the slot, disappeared over the straight boundary, before another overpitched delivery was walloped high over long-on into the stands. Amit Mishra fared little better next over. He tossed one up wide to Pollard, who banged into the stand behind long-on, before sending a woeful waist-high full toss into the night three balls later. In those eight balls, Pollard had hit six sixes and a four, to swing the match decisively in Mumbai's favour.
Steyn's favourite ball is the one that pitches on leg and hits off-stump, and while he didn't get the ball moving quite that far against Mumbai Indians, he bowled a top notch delivery to Pollard in the 16th over. It was a ball that might have got him a wicket in a Test match: quick, angled in, and pitching on middle stump on a good length. Steyn got the ball to seam away considerably and it passed over the stumps a good distance from Pollard's awkward stroke to the keeper, who took it at head height.
Appeals for balls taken on the bounce have become rarer in the age of the super slow-motion replays, but Dinesh Karthik asked the question in the 18th over, despite the fact that the edge off Cameron White's bat had dropped several inches in front of him. White looked unconcerned as the umpires referred the call to the third umpire and was unimpressed as the replays showed how far in front the ball had actually bounced. He took his displeasure out on the next ball, though. Mitchell Johnson pitched it short and White launched the ball 90 metres over midwicket, well into the stands.
Shikhar Dhawan was particularly strong square on the offside during his 59 and put the cover drive to fruitful use throughout the innings. His best shot through cover came off Lasith Malinga in the 11th over. Malinga attempted a yorker, and though he only pitched the ball marginally outside off - and only inches in front of the batsman's toes - Dhawan brought his bat down rapidly, with an open face, and creamed the ball past a diving cover fielder to the boundary.
The strange stroke
Dwayne Smith had batted nicely for 21, but on his 17th delivery played a vexing shot that cost him his wicket. Ishant Sharma delivered a straight ball, pitching on middle and not doing much, but instead of trying to work it into the on-side or defending it back down the wicket, Smith attempted an ambitious cover drive on the up - without being anywhere close to the position that might have allowed him to play the stroke. Smith missed the ball by a distance as a result and, as it flattened his middle stump, he lost his balance and stumbled on to the pitch.
The unexpected missile
It was not a sweetly struck ball that put umpire Anil Chaudhary in danger in the eighteenth over - rather, it was Pollard's bat. Intent on extending his eight-ball massacre, Pollard swung so hard at Mishra's fifth delivery that he could not hold onto his bat, which went flying through the air straight at the square-leg umpire, standing two metres in from the 30-yard circle. Chaudhary spotted the missile early though, and moved away in time to avoid injury. A fan in the stands had not been so lucky, having been hit in the face by a six from Rohit Sharma in the previous over.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets hereFeeds: Andrew Fidel Fernando
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