Mumbai Indians v Royal Challengers, IPL 2014, Mumbai May 6, 2014

The Pollard-Starc showdown

Plays of the day from the match between Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore in Mumbai

Kieron Pollard and Mitchell Starc went after each other © BCCI

The confrontation
This one had been building up. Kieron Pollard had already had had a minor run-in with Chris Gayle, when he stood outside his crease and dared the latter to run him out. Matters were to get much worse in the 17th over. Mitchell Starc pinged in a bouncer at Pollard, who missed an attempted hook and just avoided getting hit. The fast bowler had a few words to say; Pollard's response was to wave him away. More gamesmanship lay in wait as he pulled away just as Starc was about to deliver the next ball.

Incensed, Starc bowled anyway, following him and angling it in past the batsman. Pollard lost it now, and threatened to throw his bat at Starc. One wasn't sure whether he was merely feigning or if the bat got stuck in his hands too long for he threw it down close to himself. Starc had the satisfaction of running Pollard out, but before that, he teased the hopelessly stranded batsman to come back before contemptuously swatting the bail off. During the innings break, Starc said there seemed to be something between the Australian players and Pollard but added that throwing the bat was not on. The saga continued in the second half when Starc was greeted by a bouncer from Pollard, who eventually caught him at cover in the next over.

The scoop
Before all this drama, Pollard was quiet for a while as he and Rohit Sharma steadied the innings following some quick wickets. With the legspinner Yuzvendra Chahal bowling, Pollard bent on a knee, stuck his bat perpendicularly forward and scooped one on the stumps straight back over the wicketkeeper. Despite Pollard's labour, it should not have been more than a single, but Ashok Dinda, who was having a horror day on the field, let it slip past for four.

The old one-two
Chahal's first ball to Corey Anderson was a loopy delivery that was carted over the long-on boundary. The bowler took the blow and tossed another one up, a bit wider this time. Anderson took the bait and had another wallop. This one did not turn in, though, and Virat Kohli came in from long-on and settled beneath the skier.

The mauling
Young Pawan Suyal was drafted in for the injured Zaheer Khan, and was given the new ball with Gayle facing. Only a single came off the full toss he sent down, but Suyal's luck was to run out in his second over. Gayle faced four legitimate deliveries in that over. He lofted two over the long-off boundary, and swatted the other two to the deep-midwicket rope as the over went for 28, the costliest of the season so far. Suyal was to resurface later, with the big wicket of Kohli.

The comeback
In the midst of his troubles, Dinda had something to smile about. He had a terrible start to his second over. A bouncer flew over the keeper for five wides, a wide down the leg side followed, and the first legitimate ball of the over was pulled for six by CM Gautam. Dinda managed to get in a few dots and hit back by slipping in an incoming delivery that sneaked through to bowl Ambati Rayudu.

Abhishek Purohit is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Torry on May 7, 2014, 19:20 GMT

    A batsman pulling out as a form of tit-for-tat is not uncommon, also, bowlers have picked up the ball in their follow through and thrown back at the stumps "aggressively"...again not new. The bat slipped, no one can argue otherwise, no intention to deliver the blow, it was heated and they both lost it.

    The penalty was a good enough statement, why this pontification about not good for the game etc...if the bat did not fall off Pollard hand...this incident would not have gotten so much attention.

  • Android on May 7, 2014, 18:23 GMT

    why is everyone bashing pollard..starc had plenty time to pull out of the delivery stride..just another australian wanna be bully.he is lucky he wasnt back in viv's time.he surely would have received more than the bat thrown...tell him trythrowing theball at his teammate chris gayle in the nets an see what happens..

  • Prince on May 7, 2014, 11:32 GMT

    Pollard better pray that he doesn't have to get to face the aussie quicks in a test match soon. Its another thing hitting all these bowlers for a six in IPL. But that is not going to be the case in a test match. Imagine Johnson, Starc & Co. bouncing away Pollard on a perth wicket!! But have to say that from Munaf patel & Bhajji to Bumrah & Pollard, MI has been the worst behaving team in IPL history! They really need a Dravid / Dhoni to gain some sportsmanship..

  • Daison on May 7, 2014, 8:37 GMT

    Pollard does it more often doesnt he? He runs in to bowl, complete the bowling action without releasing the ball too often. And yesterday, there was no movement at the side screen, the bowler was about to deliver and he pulls away? Well, bowler was in his stride and decided to bowl anyway. These days batsmen move around in the crease too often and what the bowler do is follow the batsman. Thats all he did. Pollard had no business pulling away just as Starc had no business mouthing off after the bouncer.

  • Shyam on May 7, 2014, 7:51 GMT

    Hey guys...this is awesome for cricket. a bit of exchange between players is not only just fun, but also an essential ingredient for the spectator's thrill. Stop talking as loss of gamesmanship etc.! Pollard & Starc should not be fined (in my view). This sheer intensity between two exceptional players is real fun to watch. But it is so wrong to walk away at the end of a fast bowler's run up, considering the effort they put in to fast bowl each ball!

  • Doog on May 7, 2014, 7:35 GMT

    Why are people concerned by bouncers? Fair enough that on the tempers on the field should be controlled, but bouncers are a key part of cricket. If you had ever faced a fast bowler who can actually get it above your waist you'd know what I mean. Terrifying and difficult to play, but when you get it away...

  • sam on May 7, 2014, 7:11 GMT

    Pollard really needs a good look in by match ref. Hope he does so and deal with appropriately. Starc too showing his immaturity. Being such a talent with his immense skills he has it in him to be a great. Has been brilliant as Bangalore's spearhead as well. Don't u'stand why while in middle of a fine spell he needs to get carried away with inane chatter with batsmen. Shoud stick to getting back to mark for next ball,1q thing he's good @. He's certainly not good in some too. As we saew yesterday. Lessons..

  • Graham on May 7, 2014, 7:06 GMT

    Fast bowling is very strenuous on the body, I know as my 85kph thunderbolts take a lot out of me, imagine getting that speed closer to 150kph. There should be a point of no return for batsman who without legitimate reason to back away should be able to be dismissed. Pollard was doing it to be a prat to get back at Starc for the bouncer, and in my opinion lucky Starc didn't bowl a bouncer at his body and got of light.

  • Arun on May 7, 2014, 7:00 GMT

    Finally one thing seems to be visible is that there is more than cricket going between WI and Aus. Someone needs to calm down things since Falkuner expressive speech. Expecting some heavy penalty for MI and Pollard with Stark. One of the ugly seen with in 22 yards.

  • Arun on May 7, 2014, 7:00 GMT

    As long as sledging, riling, etc, are glorified and portrayed as "gamesmanship", incidents like these are bound to happen. It won't be long before someone tries to settle the matter physically on the field. Everything, everyone associated with this incident is completely wrong and deserves big ban:

    Staarc : For starting the nonsense and intentionally bowling at Pollard's body. Pollard: For trying to play the one-upmanship card, when he pulled out. Umpires: For not taking charge and being utterly incompetent. Kohli: For coming to the defense of his bowler, who deliberately tried to hurt Pollard. Rohit: For being a mere spectator and not making any attempt to pacify anyone, inspite of being the Captain.

    Atavistic. They might as well build a ring on the pitch and invite all teams for a no holds barred fight. Forget about Bat and Ball skills.

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