All-round Pollard show inspires Mumbai to 27-run win over Rajasthan
Kieron Pollard struck a belligerent 64 before taking four wickets as Mumbai Indians notched up a 27-run win and end Rajasthan Royals’ winning streak in a high-scoring match here on Wednesday.
Pollard’s whirlwind innings had four huge sixes and six fours. His 96-run partnership with Ambati Rayudu (unbeaten 47 off 32 balls) that came off just 52 balls powered the hosts to a season-high 197 for six in front of a packed Wankhede Stadium.
The West Indian then snapped up four wickets to add to his half-century and also took a catch which won him the man of the match award.
Chasing a daunting 198 to win, Rajasthan put up a spirited fight but lacked firepower to cross the finish line.
Owais Shah struck a brilliant 76 off just 42 balls with five fours and as many sixes and Ajinkya Rahane contributed 40 runs under pressure but that only helped Rajasthan muster 170 in 19.4 overs.
Shah and opener Rahane forged a stand of 82 runs in 57 balls to pull Royals from a sorry-reading seven for two to 89 for three in 11.1 overs.
After Rahane's exit, Shah got an able partner in Ashok Meneria (20) and the two kept the Royals firmly in the hunt with a quick-fire partnership of 45 in 18 balls before Malinga snapped up Shah and next man Johan Botha in four balls to arrest the visitors' progress.
Despite the best efforts of Meneria and the rest, the Royals were relegated to fighting a losing battle.
Munaf Patel, who had taken the wickets of rival skipper Rahul Dravid and Shreevats Goswami off successive balls in his first spell, came back to pick up two more and ended up with fine figures of four for 28 while Malinga secured two for 13.
Earlier, put into bat, Mumbai Indians made Rajasthan skipper Rahul Dravid pay for the mistake by amassing a huge total.
Though, the plot did seem to be going Rajasthan’s way till the big-built Trinidadian came to the crease. The home team had slumped to 68 for three in the ninth over and things could have gone either way, but Pollard smashed the ball around in his inimitable style to hit four sixes and six fours to give the innings the boost it needed.
Pollard hammered off-spinner Johan Botha for 22 runs in one over and then carted left-arm slow bowler Ankeet Chavan for a couple of fours and a six before holing out to long on-fielder Rahane off the last ball of the 17th over.
Rayudu was the ideal foil for the big-made Pollard but also played some handsome shots to remain unconquered after striking three sixes and a four as MI surged to the highest total of the IPL season, bettering the 193 made by holders Chennai Super Kings against Deccan Chargers in Hyderabad.
IPL debutant Brad Hogg and Amit Singh were the most successful bowlers for the Royals with figures of 2 for 31 and 2 for 29.
Mumbai Indians: 197 for six in 20 overs. (K Pollard 64, A Rayudu 47; A Singh 2/29).
Rajasthan Royals: 170 all out in 19.4 overs. (O Shah 76, A Rahane 40; M Patel 4/28, K Pollard 4/44).