Prolific Pollard steals the game away from Kings XI Punjab

KL Rahul’s ton goes in vain as Pollard masterclass helps Mumbai nab unlikely win.

Kings XI Punjab went down fighting to Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium on Wednesday after stand-in captain Kieron Pollard led from the front with an outstanding knock that took the game away from the visitors. The West Indian's efforts overshadowed KL Rahul's maiden VIVO Indian Premier League ton and helped the hosts seal a nervy last-ball winner.

Photo: SPORTZPICS

After being put into bat, KXIP started cautiously as they got only 20 runs off the first four overs. However, the next one by Jason Behrendorff was taken to the cleaners by Chris Gayle, with the West Indian scoring three sixes and a four to get the run rate almost touching nine by the end of the powerplay.

Watching his partner scoring freely, Rahul also decided to up the ante with a six and a four off Alzarri Joseph’s second over. Gayle continued the aggression as he welcomed Hardik Pandya to the attack by smashing 17 runs off the ninth over. The Universe Boss then brought up his second fifty of the IPL with a splendid straight six off Krunal Pandya.

Sadda Sher

KL Rahul, who scored his maiden IPL century, was the star performer for KXIP. He played with great poise in the early part of his innings and expertly amped up the rate in the death overs.

A few deliveries later, Gayle nudged one to long on to bring KXIP’s record partnership stand of 115 runs for the 2019 season. However, he was dismissed the very next over by Behrendorff. The wicket temporarily brought down the Kings XI run rate, with only 18 runs coming off the subsequent three overs while David Miller was sent packing as well.  

Unha De Sher

Kieron Pollard played brilliantly, scoring a scintillating 83 off just 31 balls. Although he could not stay till the end, his aggressive knock helped his side over the line.

The hosts continued their comeback with Hardik dismissing Karun Nair in the 17th while conceding only five runs. However, the Shers got back their aggressive intent as they scored 40 runs off the next two overs, with Rahul doing the bulk of the scoring. Pandya felt the brunt of the Karnataka man’s carnage, as he was smashed for three sixes and a four in his last over. Then in the final over, Rahul smashed one to mid off to score his maiden century in the IPL. Mandeep Singh precisely pierced the gap for a boundary in the final ball to set a daunting target of 198 for the home side.

Mumbai Indians started off brightly, with debutant Siddhesh Lad getting a four and a six off Ankit Rajpoot’s very first over. Mohammed Shami though bowled a sublime two-over opening spell as he gave away only four runs while picking up the wicket of Lad. Despite that, the MI batsmen targeted the other bowlers as their side got to 50 runs at the end of the powerplay.

Turning Point

The game went to the wire, and the final turning point of it came in the very last over when Ankit Rajpoot gave away 10 off the first two balls including the no ball. Although he managed to pick the wicket of Pollard, the equation ended up being in the host’s favour.

Sam Curran then picked up the wicket of Suryakumar Yadav as the hosts consolidated their position in the game by conceding just eight runs in the next two overs. They continued their pressure as Quinton de Kock was dismissed by captain Ravichandran Ashwin to leave the hosts reeling at 62/3 after nine.

Pollard temporarily turned the tide soon after, hitting Sam Curran for 18 runs off his second over to keep the hosts in the hunt. The duo then added 41 runs off the next three overs to get their side back into the contest.

But Shami came back to haunt the hosts as he picked up the wicket of both the Pandya brothers in that over. Pollard though continued his aggression as he got to his fifty with a six over mid-wicket off Curran.

Needing 30 runs off the final two, Pollard smacked two sixes and a boundary to make for a nervy finish. Bowling the final over, Ankit Rajpoot dismissed Pollard but he left the stadium with the equation at five runs off the last four deliveries. Mumbai’s tail of Joseph and Rahul Chahar managed to manoeuvre those final few deliveries and ended up scoring a couple off the last ball to send the home fans in delirium.

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