Age no barrier

Shaun Pollock and Sanath Jayasuriya ... the heroes for Mumbai Indians.-VIVEK BENDRE

Shaun Pollock is 35 and Sanath Jayasuriya 38. And they won the T20 match for Mumbai against Kolkata. Nandakumar Marar reports.

Shaun Pollock is changing the way T20 cricket is being perceived. From a game devised for batsmen to break the morale of bowlers under the guise of entertainment, he is actually having a lot of fun embarrassing the batsmen. Mumbai Indians’ new ball specialist reduced the Kolkata Knight Riders to dust. The team was shot out for 67. KKR captain Sourav Ganguly looked dazed after the experience; franchise owner Shah Rukh Khan appeared numb at the collapse in 15.2 overs.

The Wankhede Stadium track supported pace and cut, the moving ball left the batsmen gasping and in such helpful conditions, the battle-hardened South African’s skill came through as he bowled with control and change of pace. He plotted dismissal after dismissal in a composed manner, showing none of the fiery traits pacemen are supposed to adopt, yet rattling the Kolkata batsmen by the subtlety in his bowling.

Sachin Tendulkar summed it up best, saying: “Winning matches is easy when you have Pollock bowling like this.” The Mumbai Indians’ captain, put the 35-year-old fast bowler’s devastating 4-0-12-3 spell in perspective, after Pollock had drawn opener Salman Butt, David Hussey and Mohd. Hafeez to their doom, like moths attracted to flame.

Ganguly faced anxious moments. He survived 20 balls to make 15 runs without being able to infuse rhythm into his batting and make it look elegant and effective. Ajit Agarkar freed his arms for a few cuts and drives, equalling his captain’s score before being dismissed as Mumbai bowlers Dwayne Bravo (2-13), Rohan Raje (2-16) and Dominic Thornely (2-7) also snared wickets to spoil Shah Rukh’s party. Bravo bowled a wicket-maiden in the eighth over when he forced Wriddiman Saha’s exit. Aggressive field placing and sharp catching forced the Kolkata batsmen into trying risky shots.

Wicket-keeper Yogesh Takawale asserted his presence with two catches. Tendulkar backed his bowlers by snapping up four catches, to set a high standard for the remaining games. The Mumbai captain had inspired his teammates with quick bowling changes and field placements, so a third-ball dismissal against Akhtar (nibbling a ball on the off-stump) did not affect his positive demeanour.

Sanath Jayasuriya tore into the Pakistan paceman, taking 23 runs in Shoaib’s second over. The Lankan finished the match in 5.3 overs (48 not out, 17 balls, six fours, three sixes). The flicked sixes over midwicket and the slashed boundaries to balls pitched short on the off-stump reduced the bowlers to a state of helplessness. Talking about the two Mumbai Indians veterans, Tendulkar said, “T20 is said to be a young man’s game, but we have two 35-plus players (Pollock is 35 and Jayasuriya 38) who have shown that age does not matter as long as talent is there. It is the performance that matters, not age.”

THE SCORES

Mumbai Indians v Kolkata Knight Riders, Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai, May 16, 2008.

Result: Mumbai Indians won by eight wickets.

Kolkata Knight Riders 67 in 15.2 overs S. Pollock 3-12, D. Bravo 2-13, R. Raje 2-16, D. Thornely 2-7) lost to Mumbai Indians 68 for two in 5.3 overs (S. Jayasuriya 48 n.o.)