Mumbai stay alive after Pollard pummels Guyana
Mumbai Indians 184 for 4 (Pollard 72*, Tendulkar 48) beat Guyana 153 for 6 (Sarwan 46) by 31 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Kieron Pollard played the sort of innings that has made him a multi-millionaire and the game's foremost Twenty20 freelancer to muscle Mumbai Indians to a victory that kept them alive in the Champions League. At a drizzly Kingsmead he hammered 72 off 30 to extract some revenge against Guyana, who knocked out his fancied home team Trinidad & Tobago in the semi-finals of the domestic Caribbean T20 tournament.
Mumbai seemed to have lost their way a touch after a solid 82-run opening stand between Sachin Tendulkar and Shikhar Dhawan, but the decision to push Pollard to No. 3 worked wonders. Pollard's nine sixes helped Mumbai loot 85 runs in the final five; Ambati Rayudu's contribution in a partnership of 53 was four.
Walking in at 82 for 1 in the 11th over, Pollard started slowly and watched Mumbai lose two wickets in the space of five deliveries. It was in the 16th over that he exploded, treating the Durban crowd to what seemed like extended highlights.
Christopher Barnwell was his first victim as two contrasting sixes flew over midwicket - one a brutal hit and the other an effortless flick. Devendra Bishoo, the legspinner who prised out three wickets in his first three overs, then had his figures damaged by a 19-run over. The debutant Paul Wintz was next up, one of his deliveries sent soaring into the second tier of the stands beyond long-on.
Esuan Crandon overpitched thrice in the 19th over and was dismissed each time over the leg side before Pollard capped the innings with a carefree clout over long-off. Guyana captain Ramnaresh Sarwan watched helplessly as the game slipped away, pursing his lips when Pollard started smashing the ball, then covering his face as the assault wore on.
Guyana weren't expecting such a tall target half-an-hour earlier when the Mumbai openers were around. Tendulkar made a substantial contribution but his batting lacked the usual grace. There were plenty of cross-batted heaves down the ground, and pulls from outside off. There were a few typical Tendulkar strokes too, like the stab in front of point off Crandon in the sixth over. At the other end, Dhawan was rarely troubled by the new-ball bowlers, who generally bowled a bit too short. He eased to 21 off 14, including a powerful pull over square leg for six, and Mumbai were at a comfortable 49 for 0 after the Powerplay.
Instead of pushing on to the next gear, Mumbai's scoring slackened against the gentle medium-pace of Crandon and Barnwell. After two quiet overs, Tendulkar's batting started looking even more ungainly. He was dropped off successive deliveries in the ninth over - simple chances at long-on and deep square leg - and two overs later the ball just cleared short third man off an attempted mow to midwicket. He was finally dismissed after charging out and missing a short ball from Bishoo that turned past his attempted swipe towards wide long-on.
Mumbai only added 17 off the next four overs to move to 99 for 3 after 15. At the same stage in their innings, Guyana were 14 ahead but the chase rarely looked convincing. Mumbai's big-name bowlers were generous early on, half of Guyana's first 26 runs coming off wides.
Their openers fell cheaply, but Guyana's most experienced batsmen, Sarwan and Narsingh Deonarine, kept battling with a 46-run partnership for the third wicket. Sarwan repeatedly played what has become his signature Twenty20 stroke - the flat-batted swat down the ground to make 48, but could never keep pace with the required rate.
The rivalry between T&T and Guyana was most evident when Dwayne Bravo was bowling to Sarwan. In the 12th over, when Sarwan shaped for a big shot before deciding to not offer a stroke, Bravo gave him a mouthful, and there were more heated words between the pair at the end of the over.
That was also when Guyana's chances effectively ended as the asking-rate spiraled past 13. Their batsmen kept swinging but Guyana fell well short as no one was able to replicate Pollard's fireworks, showing why his bank balance will get a big boost when the next IPL auction rolls around.
Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at Cricinfo