Pollard powers Mumbai past Sunrisers

Pollard powers Mumbai past Sunrisers

Kieron Pollard's blistering unbeaten 27-ball 66 today 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, here.

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 was retired hurt for a 31-ball 38 in the 12th over and Mumbai lost two quick wickets to be left starnded at 100 for three in 14 overs.

But Pollard had other ideas in his mind as he 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.

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. Mumbai's run-chase commenced at a relatively slow pace and opener Dwayne Smith, who looked aggressive by striking two consecutive fours against Dale Steyn in the previous over, was castled by Ishant Sharma in the fourth over.

Tendulkar and Dinesh Karthik then consolidated the innings and chipped in with occasional boundaries to keep the scoreboard ticking.

Mumbai suffered a setback when Tendulkar retired hurt after hitting Karan Sharma for a huge six in the stand named after him. The senior India batsman called for the physio and took the treatment for nearly five minutes on his left palm before leaving the field.
The hosts were jolted again as they lost Karthik and Ambati Rayudu in quick succession. Karthik had hit four fours in his 23-ball 30.

But Pollard and Sharma then steadied the innings and guided the team to safety as the 17th and 18th overs yielded 50 runs for the home side. With this win, Mumbai maintained their clean slate at home, winning all their seven games this edition.

Earlier, Shikhar Dhawan led the way with a stroke-filled half-century as Sunrisers posted a challenging 178 for three.

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. 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 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 toal 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 Kathik 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.

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