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The Greatest IPL Performances 2008-2020

The greatest IPL performances, No. 8: Kieron Pollard's 60 not out vs the Chennai Super Kings

The Mumbai Indians needed a competitive total against the tournament favourites in the 2013 final. One man stepped up

Shashank Kishore
Shashank Kishore
We polled our staff for their picks of the top ten best batting, bowling and all-round performances in the IPL through its history. Here's No. 8
The 2013 IPL final was the second to pit the Chennai Super Kings against the Mumbai Indians. In the 2010 title match, Mumbai made the bizarre decision to hold Kieron Pollard back even when they were five down, needing 69 off 31 balls. When he finally came out to bat and muscled the big hits, Mumbai were left to rue their error. The Super Kings went on to lift their maiden crown.
They made it two in two the following yearrunners-up in 2012. It's fair to assume, at least by cricketing logic, that they were favourites in 2013, too - though they had their share of turmoil off the field.
For Mumbai, it had been a season of contrasts. A struggling first half led to Ricky Ponting stepping down mid-season to hand over the captaincy to rookie Rohit Sharma. The gamble paid off and turned a season that had been in ruins into a near fairy tale.
In the final, Mumbai started poorly and slipped to 52 for 4 in the tenth over on a Kolkata deck that had been re-laid and on which the ball seamed around. Based on IPL history up until then, ESPNcricinfo's Smart Stats Forecaster, looking back retrospectively, pegged Mumbai's win percentage at 27.35 at that point.
Pollard came in at six and started with an easily driven four. He and Ambati Rayudu went at a trot, though Pollard found the boundary or went over it every few balls. When Rayudu had his off stump uprooted by Dwayne Bravo in the 16th, Pollard buckled down and took the innings deep.
Harbhajan Singh fell looking to have a go. Rishi Dhawan sacrificed his wicket trying to pinch a run and get Pollard back on strike. At the end of 18 overs, Mumbai were 129 for 6. Chris Morris delivered a superb penultimate over, conceding six.
Pollard was up against his countryman Dwayne Bravo in the 20th, a master of the slower ball and a superb exponent of the wide yorker. Bravo took two wickets off the first three balls of the last over, keeping Pollard off strike. On the fourth ball, Pollard took a risk and ran, though the ball had reached slip straight off a half-volley.
The first of the final two balls was a low full toss and Pollard flicked it for a straight six. Then came a slower ball, pitched on a length, which he dismissed over long-on for six more. Mumbai's win percentage jumped from 27.35 to 41.34. The real worth of Pollard's 60 runs off 32 was pegged as being equivalent to 87.75 runs by Smart Stats.
Mumbai went on to lift their first title, to set the tone for the kind of dominance that no other team has quite been able to compete with yet in the IPL. Pollard showed what Mumbai may have missed out on on that night in 2010, when these two teams first squared off in what has since become the biggest IPL rivalry of them all.

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo