MI vs PBKS, IPL 2021: Pandya, Pollard blow Punjab away

MI vs PBKS, IPL 2021: The victory at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium kept MI’s title defence hopes alive while dealing a big blow to PBKS' aspirations to make it to the Playoffs.

Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard

Thanks to Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard's unbroken 45-run stand off 23 balls, MI ensured an impressive performance by the bowling unit didn’t go in vain.   -  Sportzpics for IPL

Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard lived up to their tag of being reliable finishers in T20 cricket for the first time in the second stage of the Indian Premier League to aid Mumbai Indians (MI) across the line against Punjab Kings (PBKS) without much fuss.

Thanks to Hardik (40 n.o., 30b, 4x4, 2x6) and Pollard’s (15 n.o., 7b, 1x4, 1x6) unbroken 45-run stand off 23 balls, MI ensured that an impressive performance by the bowling unit and Saurabh Tiwary earlier in the chase didn’t go in vain as Rohit Sharma and Co. overhauled the target of 136 with six wickets and as many balls to spare.

The victory at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium - Mumbai’s first in its fourth attempt since resumption of the tournament - kept MI’s title defence hopes alive while dealing a big blow to PBKS' aspirations to make the Playoffs.

As it happened

When Pollard joined Hardin in the middle after Tiwary (45, 37b, 3x4, 2x6) - who replaced an out-of-form Ishan Kishan - was caught behind off Nathan Ellis’ back-of-the-hand slower ball in the 16th over, MI required 44 off 29 balls.

Hardik, who had been dropped by Harpeet Brar off the bowling of left-arm pacer Arshdeep Singh in the earlier over, took his time in before targeting Mohammed Shami in the 17th over. While Pollard went after Arshdeep in the 18th, Hardik finished iwith a six off Shami that should have actually been caught by Deepak Hooda on the long-on boundary.

Hooda (28, 26b, 1x4, 1x6) couldn’t be blamed for the defeat as he and Aiden Markram (42, 29b, 6x4) stabilised the PBKS essay with a 61-run association for the fifth wicket. Thanks to MI picking four wickets in 14 balls for just 12 runs, Punjab was tottering at 48 for four in the eighth over.

Pollard was the star staging the collapse, picking the prized scalps of Chris Gayle (caught at long-on) and captain K.L. Rahul (caught at short fine off a slower ball) in three balls. Rahul’s wicket meant Pollard became the first cricketer to achieve the double of 10,000 runs and 300 wickets in T20 cricket.

And Pollard ensured he celebrated the grand occasion by playing his part with the willow as well.

AS THEY SAID

K. L. Rahul, PBKS skipper: It was a great fight but 135 was not enough on this pitch. We should have got about 170. The boys showed a lot of fight with the ball, we have done that two games in a row. The next three games will be interesting for us as the table looks interesting.

Rohit Sharma, MI captain: We do agree that we didn't play to our potential but it's a long tournament and we need to stick to our plans and reading the situations is very important and we can take a lot of confidence from that. It is important not to lose the guard.

Kieron Pollard, Player of the Match: Very important to get my 300th wicket which was KL (Rahul). I know what I can do in all the facets of the game. I will be more than happy to do what the team needs of me.

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :