Ravichandran Ashwin (left) and Andrew Tye starred for KXIP © IANS
Ravichandran Ashwin (left) and Andrew Tye starred for KXIP © IANS

“This (Kieron Pollard’s dismissal) could have happened when Mumbai were 71 for 4. As a bowling captain this was a key moment as opposition was under pressure. Seizing moments in T20 games is important and that’s where Ashwin missed the trick,” commented Anil Kumble, who has shared many happy dressing-rooms as coach of Team India with Ravichandran Ashwin.

Kieron Pollard was allowed to blast a 23-ball 50 as Mumbai Indians (MI) finished with 186 for 8 in 20 overs in Match 50 of VIVO IPL against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai after being invited to bat. MI were off to a solid start before Andrew Tye derailed the momentum, finishing with 4-0-16-4, only extending his run as the Purple Cap holder. He became the only bowler to bag 3 four-wicket hauls in a single IPL season.

However, Mumbai could have been restricted under 160 had Ashwin deployed himself and Tye when Pollard was toying with the likes of Marcus Stoinis and Akshar Patel.

Mumbai had raced to 37 for no loss after 3 overs. Suryakumar Yadav continued his rich form, smashing Ankit Rajpoot for 21 in the third over of the innings. Ashwin was forced to move to Tye, and Tye responded by knocking off Evin Lewis’ stumps with his first ball.

Ishan Kishan took the attack to Mohit Sharma the next over, smashing a four and back-to-back sixes. MI got 18 off the over.

Tye came back to put the brakes on Mumbai. Kishan fell after he miscued a knuckle ball and Surya followed him to dugout the next ball. MI were 3 down inside the Powerplay with 60 on board.

Ashwin recalled Rajpoot in the ninth over, and Rajpoot responded with Rohit’s wicket. Not connecting a pull, Rohit found his good friend Yuvraj Singh at mid-wicket.

Mumbai regained momentum in the 12th over, bowled by Stoinis. Krunal Pandya struck back-to-back sixes and a four to get 19 off the over. Pollard ended the next over, from Akshar, with a six.

There was no stopping the big West Indian as he plundered 18 off the next over, from Rajpoot, that included a six and 2 fours. Strangely, Ashwin held Tye and himself back. In fact, Ashwin bowled only 1 over till 15th over mark.

A slow bouncer from Stoinis got Krunal, making way for brother Hardik. Pollard’s carnage saw no halt. In the same over he edged twice for fours and then smacked straight down the ground to bring up his 41st T20 fifty, off 22 balls.

Eventually, it was Ashwin who dismissed Pollard in the 16th over, igniting further criticism from the analysts.

Earlier, KXIP made three changes to their side. On Monday, Ashwin had blamed batting as a major letdown. To fix that, KXIP dropped Karun Nair and Mayank Agarwal in favour of Manoj Tiwary and Mayank Agarwal. Mumbai dropped JP Duminy to bring in Pollard.

Brief scores:

Mumbai Indians 186 for 8 in 20 overs [Krunal Pandya 32 (23), Kieron Pollard 50 (23); Andrew Tye 4-0-16-4, Ravichandran Ashwin 3-0-18-2] vs Kings XI Punjab.