IPL 2017: RCB vs MI, SK Player of the Match, Kieron Pollard for his match-winning knock of 70
Mumbai Indians' miraculous effort after being 33/5 in eight overs to successfully chase a target of 143 runs will go down in the history books of the Indian Premier League. It was an inspired performance by the men in blue as Kieron Pollard and Krunal Pandya inspired an amazing turnaround for the two-time champions.
A match winning knock from Pollard turned out to be the difference between the two sides as the West Indian powerhouse led his team to a well-deserved victory.
The biggest talking point of the match came in the second over of the second innings though as Samuel Badree took a hat-trick on his debut for the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Badree's heroics left Mumbai Indians four down for just seven runs as the West Indian leggie claimed the scalps of Parthiv Patel, Mitchell Mclenaghan and Rohit Sharma. He then removed Nitish Rana to end his spell with a jaw-dropping 4/9 in his stipulated four overs.
In T20s, a spell of this ilk often gets the Man of the Match award but Badree's countryman, Pollard decided to take matters into his own hands. The West Indian played arguably the best innings of his IPL career which makes him the SK Player of the Day.
The reason why this innings was extra special for the destructive Caribbean was that it was not all about his hard hitting skills and sending the ball into the top stands of the stadium. It was a mature knock from Pollard as he understood the situation of the game brilliantly and formed a crucial 93 run partnership with Krunal Pandya. Though he smashed the deliveries when it was in his arc, it was his singles and twos which kept the run rate in check and kept his side in the hunt.
The Trinidadian scored 70 from 47 balls as a well-calculated innings spoiled the party for his fellow Trinidadian, Badree. Credit must be given to Krunal Pandya as the left-hander held his ground well and never gave the RCB bowlers a chance to run away with the game.
Following the general trend in the league so far, Mumbai Indians won the toss and elected to bowl first. They had bowled brilliantly coming into this game and displayed great discipline to restrict Royal Challengers Bangalore to a modest total of 143 runs despite Virat Kohli making his much-awaited return. Kohli played a delightful knock of 62 but could not up the ante.
Mumbai's reply, meanwhile, started in the worst possible way as Jos Buttler was prised out by Stuart Binny in the second over. Then Badree took over and removed four batsmen in quick succession in his four-over quota. When it was all looking glum for Mumbai, out stepped Pollard to play a kind of innings not often associated with the West Indian. Though he could not stay at the crease at the end, he did inflict enough damage for the remaining batters to apply the finishing touches to.
The duo of Pandya and Pollard batted for close to 10 overs and made sure that they did not present RCB with a chance to crawl back into the game. Both players rotated the strike well with Pollard playing the role of the senior partner, ensuring Pandya put a price on his wicket.
Pollard used his inside out shots to perfection and put Yuzvendra Chahal under immediate pressure when he came on to bowl. Anything that was tossed up from Chahal or Pawan Negi was dispatched for six runs and he also played some brilliant shots off the bowling of Tymal Mills. Pollard hit Mills for two fours in the 15th over. Then came the over which changed the complexion of the game.
Negi was handed the ball after the strategic timeout but Pollard took complete advantage of the break to inflict some serious damage on the opposition. He hit Negi for two sixes which brought the equation down to 33 runs from 24 balls. In that over, he became the fifth batsman in T20 history to reach the 7000 run milestone.
He finished his brilliant innings with 70 runs which included three fours and five humongous sixes.
Today, despite a hat trick from the opposing side's leg spinner, Mumbai Indians ended up on the winning side courtesy some unconventional batting by Kieron Pollard which may go down as his finest ever knock in the Indian Premier League.