Aiding Mumbai Indians (MI) in a nail-biting finish in their win over Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) last year, Kieron Pollard arguably had the best innings in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019. Off just 31 balls, the West Indies hard-hitter accumulated a staggering 83 runs on his captaincy debut on this day in IPL’s 12th edition.
After Pollard won the toss and elected to bowl against KXIP, standing in for an injured Rohit Sharma, the Mumbai Indians were flayed by KL Rahul. Along with Gayle, Rahul forged a 116-run stand in 77 balls for the first wicket and went on to score his first IPL century off just 64 balls. The Mohali-based team had finished with an imposing 197/4 in 20 overs.
Chasing at nearly more than 10 runs per over, MI failed to get off to a good start losing their first three wickets for 62. But Pollard came in and steadied the ship and kept scoreboard moving with big blows out of the park.
When the stand-in captain came in to bat in the eighth over, MI required 142 to win in 12.2 overs, with an asking rate of 11.5 per over. Over the next 71 balls, Pollard scored at 16 runs per over, while the other batsmen scored 43 off 40. His powerful innings comprised just three fours and 10 towering sixes, six of which came in the final five overs.
Although MI were 140/6 in 15.4 overs with a required rate of over 13 runs per over, the presence of the big Jamaican took the 2019 champions over the line. Although Alzarri Joseph got MI the winning run on the last ball of the match, Pollard’s nerves of steel and his 39 runs in the penultimate three overs of the chase was crucial in the three-wicket win.
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