With 65 runs required off the last four overs, it seemed all but over for Mumbai as they prepared to surrender their fortress to Cameron White’s men. But not a single soul present at the Wankhede Stadium would have envisaged the absolute carnage that was to transpire in the next 20 minutes.
Earlier, a couple of blistering knocks from opener Shikhar Dhawan (59 off 41 balls) and skipper White (43 not out off 23 balls) ensured Mumbai Indians had a steep task remaining unbeaten at home as Hyderabad put on a daunting 178 for three on the board.
The Sunrisers got everything right, starting with winning the toss. White had no hesitation taking advantage of what looked like an excellent batting pitch and put his team in.
The in-form Dhawan provided a masterclass in aggressive, yet controlled, batting as he carried Hyderabad on his shoulders. He used his feet well and targeted the off-side as SRH reached 87 for one at the halfway stage. Dhawan soon brought up his third half-century of the season, off just 36 balls, with a slick cover drive off Lasith Malinga.
It took the curse of Admiral Nelson and a slower one from Mitchell Johnson to get rid of Dhawan in the 13th over as the left-hander nicked to the keeper. At 111 for two, anything was possible; the match could go either way, but the Sunrisers’ skipper swung it theirs with an aggressive cameo, including three fours and as many maximums.
White put on 55 with Hanuma Vihari for the third wicket that came off just 40 balls, as the visitors pelted 33 runs in the last four overs to take them to a score that quite flattered their ‘weak’ batting line-up.
Mumbai lost opener Dwayne Smith early to a screamer from Ishant Sharma that shattered the stumps, before Sachin Tendulkar and Dinesh Karthik calmly steadied the innings. The duo didn’t show any haste and targeted a boundary an over, as they took Mumbai to 73 for one in the first 10 overs.
And then, for a brief period of four balls, it seemed that Tendulkar had begun the launch in the 12th over. The 40-year-old begun by smacking leg-spinner Karan Sharma straight down the ground for four before targeting the crowd seated in the stand named after him with a massive heave over long-on. That shot brought back memories of Sharjah, circa 1998, and even though MI’s required rate was hovering around 11, the Mumbai faithful were unconcerned, knowing their little master was there to take them home.
However, immediately after Tendulkar played the shot, he signaled for the physio and began stretching the fingers of his left hand. Quite a few minutes were lost as Tendulkar was attended to, before he eventually decided to retire hurt even as the Wankhede was stunned into silence — too stunned to even acknowledge a 31-ball 38 from their hero.
As if scripted, Karthik got himself caught at cover off a leading edge in the same over before Ambati Rayudu gave Karan Sharma his second wicket in his next via an easy stumping. Reminiscent of the umpteen times that it has happened in his 24-year career, Tendulkar’s team was falling apart after his exit. Mumbai crawled along to 117 for three in 16 overs, still needing 62 more from just 24 balls at more than 15 an over.
It was here that something clicked inside the 1.96-metre gangly frame of Pollard’s body. The Trinidadian clobbered half a dozen sixes in seven balls — including five consecutive ones — to snatch the game out of Hyderabad’s clutches. He would have hit even more, had a bat not flown in to obstruct his concentration. But the damage was done, and that’s not counting the destruction of the wooden chairs in the stands, and perhaps a few skulls as well.
Pollard brought up his half-century in just 20 balls and ended the match with a two massive heaves over deep mid-wicket and way into the second tier. The Hyderabad dugout could just stare into space with their jaws dropped, as the superhuman Pollard roared mightily in glory.
Sunrisers Hyderabad 178 for 3 in 20 overs (Shikhar Dhawan 59, Cameron White 43*; Lasith Malinga 2 for 26) lost to Mumbai Indians 184 for 3 in 19.3 overs (Kieron Pollard 66*, Sachin Tendulkar 38 retd hurt; Karan Sharma 2 for 22) by 7 wickets.