IPL recap: When Pollard stole Kings XI’s thunder

Leading Mumbai Indians as its stand-in captain, Kieron Pollard played a defining innings to pull off a heist against Kings XI Punjab in IPL 2019.

Mumbai Indians' Kieron Pollard plays a lofted shot during his 31-ball 83 against Kings XI Punjab   -  IPL

In the history of the Indian Premier League, the Kings XI Punjab and Mumbai Indians rivalry has been quite exciting. Of the 24 outings, Mumbai has won 13 times. But then, with some of the big names in its ranks, even Kings XI has dished out some mouth-watering performances over the years.

There have been some high-scoring games as well, but last year’s Mumbai-Kings XI fixture at the Wankhede Stadium stands out. In a packed stadium, K.L. Rahul hammered a flawless maiden IPL ton to guide the Punjab side to 197-4. In pursuit of the tall chase, Mumbai found itself reeling at 94-4 in 11 overs. With the top batsmen back in the pavilion, it looked like a walk in the park for Kings XI.

That’s when Kieron Pollard came into the scene.

Read: The glorious run of Team India in 2019

The West Indies veteran did not have a memorable outing thus far, so the expectations weren’t much. But proving the old adage -- old habits die hard -- true, Pollard stole Kings XI Punjab’s thunder with a blistering 83 off 31 balls to help the team cruise. That, eventually, paved the way for Mumbai Indians’ success in the group league.

Leading the side in the absence of Rohit Sharma -- who was rested due to a muscle spasm in his right leg -- Pollard crafted his innings with 10 sixes and three boundaries to help Mumbai bag its third consecutive victory, chasing a mammoth total.

Having lost four wickets for 94, Mumbai’s stand-in captain stitched a 41-run partnership with Hardik Pandya to brighten Mumbai’s chances. But Hardik was caught by David Miller off Mohammed Shami, with Mumbai still 63 away from the target.

However, Hardik’s dismissal had little impact on Pollard, who went about his business, going hammer and tongs at a rather seasoned Kings XI bowling line-up. As the West Indies ace went berserk, the Punjab outfit was left wanting, and despite posting a big total, it conceded the game by three wickets.

After the game, Pollard even admitted that it was important for him ‘to stay calm under pressure and finish off the game’. That approach not only helped Mumbai clinch the game, but also boosted its confidence in the race to the final.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

Matches: 24

MI won: 13

Kings XI Punjab won: 11

MI Highest total: 223

Kings XI Highest total: 230

MI lowest score: 87

Kings XI lowest score: 119

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