Mumbai Indians v Royals, IPL 2014, Mumbai May 25, 2014

Pollard plays the air guitar

Plays of the day from the match between Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals at the Wankhede Stadium

Kieron Pollard dived forward to catch Shane Watson © BCCI

The interception
In the final over of the Rajasthan Royals innings, Brad Hodge slogged a length delivery from Kieron Pollard towards cow corner. He had timed and placed the shot well and the ball seemed destined for a one-bounce four. Then there was a blur of blue. Corey Anderson had sprinted from deep midwicket and got to the ball just as it bounced over the boundary. He grabbed at it with his left hand, caught it and flung it back - doing all this while running at full tilt - before falling to the ground.

The guitar hero
Pollard and Shane Watson have previous from the 2013 season, and Pollard took an outstanding catch to dismiss Watson today. After mis-hitting Harbhajan Singh towards wide long-on, Watson watched as Pollard covered lots of ground by running forward and to his right from the boundary, and then dived forward to catch the skier just before it hit the ground. He bounced up immediately and broke out an exuberant air-guitar celebration.

The deterioration
Jasprit Bumrah is developing a reputation of being a capable death bowler, and he began the 19th over against Royals with three blockhole deliveries that the batsmen could only take singles off. He then began to miss his length but the next two legal deliveries were low full tosses that also yielded only singles. The last ball of the over, however, was a full toss on leg stump and James Faulkner swung it over the square-leg boundary.

The contrasting shots
In the 11th over of Royals' innings, Karun Nair tried to reverse-hit the legspinner Shreyas Gopal from outside off stump. He was cramped for room and managed to get a fraction of bat on the ball to send it racing past the keeper for four. Nair had been aiming square of the wicket and the execution was not pretty. His shot to the next ball, however, was outstanding. Nair drove a full ball against the turn through midwicket with hardly any flourish but his timing was perfect and the result was the same as his unorthodox shot the previous delivery.

The start
Mumbai were facing an asking rate of 13 to qualify for the playoffs and there was no time to waste. Bowling the second over, Dhawal Kulkarni's first delivery was a loosener - a short ball. It was also Michael Hussey's first ball, but he was not having a sighter. Hussey pulled from outside off stump, and the ball disappeared into the screaming fans beyond the midwicket boundary.

George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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