Kieron Pollard (57) smashed a superb unbeaten half-century and took a sensational catch under pressure as Mumbai Indians defeated Chennai Super Kings by nine runs in a thrilling Pepsi IPL match,here today.
Pollard hit a timely unbeaten half-century to lead Mumbai Indians to a competitive 148 for six after the visitors elected to bat at M A Chidambaram stadium.
Chennai skipper M S Dhoni almost won the match for his side with a breathtaking 51-run knock off 26 balls but his dismissal in the first ball of the 20th over scripted Mumbai’s sensational win.
With 12 runs to win from the last over,Dhoni hoicked Munaf Patel powerfully but ended up caught by an air-borne Pollard at the boundary ropes. That stunning catch sealed the fate of Chennai.
The hosts managed 139 for nine as they paid price for losing wickets intermittently,not building partnerships.
It was all due to Dhoni’s heroic knock,which was studded with five fours and three sixes,that Chennai could come close to the target since the hosts were reeling at 99 for six in 16 overs at one stage.
Mumbai were struggling at 59 for four in the ninth over when Pollard came to the crease and the West Indian bailed his side out of troubled waters with his 38-ball knock,which was laced with nine boundaries. The burly Caribbean ended the Mumbai innings with his fifth six.
A charged up Mumbai began the defence of their total impressively as the bowlers troubled the Chennai batsmen by keeping a tight line even as fielders dropped a few chances.
Such was the domination of the Mumbai bowlers — pacers spinners alike — that in the first 10 overs Chennai batsmen could manage just five boundaries,three of them coming from the bat of Hussey.
Left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha then removed Bravo and S
Badrinath in successive overs. The hosts needed 60 off the
last six overs and Dhoni almost did it for his side with his
power-hitting even as the side lost Ravindra Jadeja (16) and R
Ashiwn (2) in between.
Dhoni hit Pollard for a six and two fours at the beginning of the 18th over and from nowhere,Chennai were back in the game.
Earlier,Pollard’s innings was studded with nine boundaries including five sixes. Mumbai scored 52 runs in the last five overs as Pollard and Harbhajan Singh shared an unbeaten 65-run stand for the seventh wicket. Harbhajan scored a run-a-ball 21.
Dwayne Bravo (2/44) scalped two batsman while four other Chennai bowlers took a wicket each.
Mumbai lost both the openers inside the first 20 balls with Sachin Tendulkar getting a first ball duck in the fifth ball of the first over and skipper Ricky Ponting becoming victim of IPL debutant Ankit Rajpoot.
Dirk Nannes gave Mumbai a big jolt when he trapped Tendulkar,who played across the line and was caught plumb.
Ponting was a bit early into his pull shot and the leading edge was taken by R Ashwin at first slip. It was a big wicket for the 19-year-old UP paceman Rajpoot to start off.
Mumbai survived more damage when Rajpoot grassed Rohit Sharma (8) off Nannes but the batsman finally walked when M S Dhoni held a thin edge,induced by Dwayne Bravo.
In between Suresh Raina failed to hold on to powerful cut shot by Dinesh Karthik,who responded with a six off Rajpoot the next ball and kept hitting boundaries to ensure that his side keeps a decent run rate.
It was important for Mumbai that Karthik (37) stays and play a good knock but Barvo returned for his second over and trapped the diminutive batsman.
In came Pollard and he smashed Bravo to two consecutive boundaries. Despite losing wickets intermittently,Mumbai were managing a decent run-rate of seven.