Robin Singh, the Mumbai Indians batting coach, lauded Kieron Pollard for his maturity in finishing games after his unbeaten 17-ball 51 sealed a six-wicket win against Kolkata Knight Riders at the Wankhede Stadium on Thursday. With 49 runs needed off five overs, Pollard smashed R Sathish for three sixes in four deliveries. Two overs later, he hit three more sixes off Jaydev Unadkat to take Mumbai to their fourth win of the season.
Before this game, Pollard had scored 71 runs in six matches. "I think you saw what he meant, today," Robin said. "And I think you saw that even in the previous games. When you have someone like Pollard coming in at the back-end and you have even Jos Buttler just ahead of him, oppositions are never actually safe with any sort of score on the board. As you saw, it's just a question of one over in the game that changes the course of the game. People like Pollard, you need to have in any team. He's with me at Barbados Tridents as well and he plays in a similar fashion.
"His cricket has matured over the years. If you see last season, he played a lot of similar knocks like this, compared to initially when he came in. He's understood his responsibilities as not someone who can only strike the ball but somebody who's really critical to the side. More importantly, I think it [his role] is sending jitters to the opposition."
Robin also praised Rohit Sharma's consistency as an opener, and said Mumbai's batting gave him the confidence to play freely. Rohit struck an unbeaten 49-ball 69 against Knight Riders, his fourth half-century of the season.
"I think he has been pretty successful even in Indian cricket. If you talk about Test cricket, that's a different ball game. In the shorter formats, he's been probably one of the top batters after Virat Kohli," he said. "I think his game suits this format, more than anybody else. He has got a fantastic range of strokes. There are no inhibitions about playing the game. As the game, the run-rate, catches up very fast, if you don't really score in the middle or if you don't have a good start, it's curtains for most teams."
Knight Riders batsman Chris Lynn said his side's best option to scuttle Mumbai's plans was to dismiss Rohit early. "I think every time I have played against him, he's got over 50 or 60. He just puts a high price on his wicket," he said. "He never panics at any stage, [similar to] what Virat Kohli has been doing over the last few games. He targets the bowlers and it's pretty simple - he just executes his skills more than most. He's a class player, you've got less margin for error - if you miss a yorker or if you miss a bouncer he's going to put it away."