Kieron Pollard © IANS
By R Vishal
Apr 26, 2014
In the 20th match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014, Sunrisers Hyderabad clinched an 15-run victory over Mumbai Indians, with a blistering 78 by Kieron Pollard taking them close to the target. Hyderabad were buoyed by excellent knocks from David Warner and KL Rahul to take them to a commanding total of 172 for five in their allotted 20 overs after they were in trouble early in the game.
Rohit Sharma continued to open despite being out of sorts in this tournament. Rohit’s tentative body language at the crease reflected his poor run at the crease and almost ran out his partner Dunk of the fifth ball of the first over. Dunk got on his toes and spanked Steyn for a boundary to show why he is so highly rated in the Big Bash. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar got the first breakthrough in what was a high class display of seam bowling, castled Rohit and Mumbai were on the back-foot.
Corey Anderson was promoted up the order at number three and it was a rather risky ploy with the ball seaming around. Steyn had Anderson all at sea in the first few balls and the burly New Zealander’s nightmarish run in the IPL continued when the speed-gun sent Anderson packing with a snorter of a delivery which the batsmen tried to scoop it past short-fine leg and was safely taken by keeper Naman Ojha.
Dunk tried to calm waters at one end which resulted in a couple of boundaries of Karn Sharma. That was followed by another full-blooded whip, that went through the fingers of David Warner at covers for another boundary. Sammy had the final laugh when a straight-ish delivery hit Dunk’s pad and deflected on to his stumps to leave Hyderabad tottering at 32 for three after six overs.
Hyderabad captain Shikhar Dhawan sensed blood and brought Dale Steyn for his third over. Steyn was at steaming in at a furious pace and another wicket should have fallen when a nervous prod from Ambati Rayudu nearly found Darren Sammy at first slip. Sammy should have tried harder and it Hyderabad should have had their third wicket. After a rather slow start, Kieron Pollard drove a couple of boundaries off Karn Sharma with the required run-rate mounting with every passing delivery. The spinners were tidy in the middle overs though, not giving much away. It was epitomised by Pollard trying to kick the ball to the fence in frustration after consecutive dot balls.
With the required run-rate touching 12, the Mumbai Indians were in dire need of inspiration and Pollard answered Mumbai’s prayers by smoking one over mid-wicket for a boundary and bludgeoning two massive sixes that comfortably crossed the boundary ropes despite the all-rounder mistiming those deliveries. Yet another boundary ensued and 19 came of the Mishra over. The 14th over from Karn Sharma saw Pollard at ease at the crease with an enormous six over long on. Rayudu also got on the act and hit the leg-spinner for a four down the ground and Mumbai firmly in the reckoning for chasing down the total. Hyderabad found an unlikely source in Irfan Pathan to break the partnership that was threatening to take the game away from the men in orange.
After the second strategic time-out the full wrath of Pollard willow was in full cry against Amit Mishra. Pollard first creamed two over-pitched deliveries by the leg spinner in the upper tier of the stands and smashed two quicker ones down the ground for another six and a boundary that left every fielder unmoved. 27 runs came of the over and Mumbai wrested the initiative for the first time in the game. Hyderabad were under the cosh for the first time and Steyn was brought into the attack for the 18th over and immediately got Aditya Tare’s wicket with the batsmen trying to dab the ball past short third-man. Wicket-keeper Naman Ojha took a safe catch.
Bhuvaneshwar shrugged off a dubious wide that was awarded by umpire Kumar Dharmasena to bowl a tidy over and and heap pressure on Harbhajan Singh. Harbhajan tried a wild slash and only found Dhawan at cover point. With Mumbai needing 20 of the last over and Irfan Pathan was handed the ball in the last over and in what looked like a message to the selectors, Irfan sent Pollard back to the pavilion, yorking the West Indian off a scorcher and the Hyderabad camp were jubilant. The final deliveries were equally impressive and only gave away a measly four runs to give Hyderabad their second win of IPL 2014 and thereby inflicting Mumbai their fifth straight defeat.
Sunrisers Hyderabad 172 for 5 in 20 overs (Aaron Finch 16, KL Rahul 46*, David Warner 65; Zaheer Khan 2 for 26, Corey Anderson 2 for 18) beat Mumbai Indians 157 for 7 (Ben Dunk 20, Ambati Rayudu 35, Kieron Pollard 78 ; Dale Steyn 2 for 20, Irfan Pathan 2 for 13) by 15 runs
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R Vishal is a journalist and alumni of the Asian College of Journalism. He can be followed on Twitter @vishhell)