IPL 6: Pollard powers Mumbai Indians to victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad
Kieron Pollard's blistering unbeaten 27-ball 66 on Monday all but assured Mumbai Indians of a play-off berth after the hosts defeated Sunrisers Hyderabad by seven wickets in their Pepsi Indian Premier League match at the Wankhede stadium.
Chasing 179 to win, Pollard snatched victory from the jaws of defeat as the big-hitting West Indian smashed six huge sixes off successive overs bowled by Thisara Perera and Amit Mishra to bring down the equation from 62 required off 24 balls to 13 off 12.
Pollard was at his destructive best as he decisively swung the match in his team's favour after Sachin Tendulkar retired hurt for a 31-ball 38 in the 12th over and Mumbai lost two quick wickets to be left at 100 for three in 14 overs.
When Tendulkar walked off the field, cramping up in his left hand, Mumbai still needed 84 off 48 balls.
The hosts suffered a double blow as they lost Karthik in the same over, bringing two new players at the crease.
Pollard forged an unconquered 85-run partnership in just 37 deliveries for the fourth wicket with skipper Rohit Sharma, who made an unbeaten 15-ball 20, to romp his side home with three balls to spare.
Sharma was reduced to a mere spectator as it was Pollard, who took the onus on himself and decorated his innings with two fours and eight massive sixes.
Till the 16th over, the script was perfectly going the way Sunrisers wanted it but Pollard changed the complexion of the game with his power hitting.
Requiring 62 off the last four, the game changed hands as Perera was plundered for 29 runs in the 17th over with Pollard hitting three consecutive sixes and Rohit Sharma (20 not out) adding another one.
Pollard, then added more misery on the Sunrisers smashing spinner Amit Mishra for another three sixes in the very next over.
With 12 needed off the last two overs, Pollard finished the match with a maximum off the third last ball to give Mumbai their seventh consecutive win at home.
Pollard finished the game in style, hitting two sixes off the final over.
Mumbai, with 20 points from 14 games, leapfrogged to the top of the points table with better net run-rate (+0.636) while Sunrisers' campaign suffered a major jolt with their sixth defeat in the tournament, which left them placed at fifth position behind Royal Challengers Bangalore with 16 points.
Sunrisers' run-rate is -0.117 at the moment and weakest among the top five teams.
Mumbai's victory means defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders lived to survive another day as they still have an outside chance of making the play-offs.
But for that to happen, they need to win their remaining tournament fixtures by a big margin.
Electing to bat, Dhawan made a fluent 41-ball 59 laced with six fours and two sixes and later captain Cameron White played a breezy knock of 43 off 23 balls to enthrall a near sell-out crowd.
Incidentally, this was the highest team total posted by the Hyderabad franchise in this edition.
Sunrisers started off well with wicket-keeper batsman Parthiv Patel scoring a 19-ball 26 and sharing a 38-run partnership with Dhawan for the opening wicket before being caught by Ambati Rayudu off Lasith Malinga at deep square leg.
Dhawan, who had earlier smashed an unbeaten 55-ball 73 against the same opposition on May 1, then found an ably ally in next man-in Hanuma Vihari and both mixed caution with aggression to take the team's total past 100-run mark.
Dhawan, in the process, brought up his fifty with a drive through covers off Malinga. Both added 73 runs for the second-wicket stand before Dhawan was caught by Dinesh Karthik behind the stumps off Mitchell Johnson.
White joined hands with Vihari in the middle and continued the onslaught. White survived a chance on 27 when Rayudu spilled his catch off Johnson.
The duo put on a 55-run stand off just 34 balls for the third wicket as Hydearabd looked set for an imposing total.
However, Mumbai kept things tight in the final overs of the Hyderabad innings as Malinga came up with an economical spell, conceding just 12 runs off his two overs and picking up the wicket of Vihari, who scored a 37-ball 41.
The Sri Lankan pacer was the pick of the bowlers for Mumbai Indians with two for 26 while Johnson grabbed a wicket while giving away 43 runs.