Even a cynical IPL watcher would have relished the power, the icy-coolness, and the smarts from Kieron Pollard as he pulled off an astounding heist as Mumbai Indians beat Chennai Super Kings by four wickets. First, he took 2 for 12 and saw a target of 219 turn to a daunting 125 from the final 8 overs but walloped an unbeaten 87 from 34 balls to leave MS Dhoni ruing the execution of his bowlers at the post-match chat.

Pollard thumps

The messages kept flowing from the Chennai dug-out. First Stephen Fleming held a mini huddle with MS Dhoni nodding. Eric Simons, former India bowling coach had his piece with the bowling coach L Balaji hovering around. Then Dhoni commandeered a private session with the bowlers in public. Nothing worked. A couple of overs later, after more plundering, Dwayne Bravo took Dhoni aside from the others and had his say. No luck. The sixes and fours kept coming.

Such was Pollard’s mayhem that Mumbai could even soak in the pressure of a two-run over from Sam Curran in the 17th over.

The beefy arms had started to swing in the 13th over at 94 for 3. Three sixes from four Ravindra Jadeja deliveries. The first two were fetched from well outside off and after a quick look at Dhoni, Jadeja got his line straighter. It was picked up from the long-on bucket seats.

Two straightish deliveries from Lungi Ngidi was smashed for sixes next over before time-out intervened and messages started to pour in. The consensus it seemed was to make Pollard fetch it from well outside off. Thakur tried but went for a 23-run over in the 15th. Krunal Pandya eased the load with six and two fours in the 16-run over next.

It was then that Curran intervened but it was just a brief lull as Hardik Pandya ransacked two sixes in the penultimate over to leave Pollard leaving 16 to get off the final over off Ngidi. The icy-cool Pollard didn’t run for two balls and swivel-pulled boundaries to clinch a famous win. At the end of it all, he stood facing skywards in prayer.

Rayudu flexes

The moment Mumbai Indians began to sweat profusely came when Ambati Rayudu crash-landed a six on the refrigerator at their dug-out, splintering the glass door to pieces. It was the 17th over and their strike bowler Jasprit Bumrah was on his way through his most expensive spell in all these IPL years. Trent Boult too was yanking his head up to look at the disappearing white ball rather frequently. Their star seamers wouldn’t be able to bring this back from the brink. Rayudu was unleashing hell on them.

Dhawal Kulkarni too was breathing out long and deep after watching the ball being sucked out of the boundary. Rayudu settled in a relaxed open stance, had his bat spliced a touch towards off, and kept scything, only to be outdone by Pollard.

Brief scores: CSK 218/4 in 20 ovs (A Rayadu 72, 27b, 4×4, 7×6; M Ali 58, 36b, 5×4, 5×6; K Pollard 2/12, 4 dots) lost to MI 219/6 in 20 ovs (K Pollard 87*, 34b, 6×4, 8x;, Q de Kock 38, 28b, 4×4, 1×6; S Curran 3/34, 11 dots)