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Pollard's 34-ball 87 Ends Chennai Super Kings' Five-Match Winning Streak

Mumbai Indians 219 for 6 (Pollard 87*, de Kock 38, Curran 3-34) beat Chennai Super Kings 218 for 4 (Rayudu 72*, Ali 58, du Plessis 50, Pollard 2-12) by four wickets

Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings have made it a habit of producing final-over thrillers. Over the years, we have seen a lot of special games between the two sides and that's why their games billed as El Clásico of IPL, yesterday was one such occasion.

Riding on Ambati Rayudu's 72-run knock, coupled with valuable fifties from Fad du Plessis and Moeen Ali, CSK posted 218 runs in the first innings. However, despite that, Chennai Super Kings lost the game, courtesy of a sensational 87-run unbeaten knock from Kieron Pollard.

Mumbai Indians needed 15.63 runs per over from the last eight overs. Kieron Pollard then smashed 85 off his next 30 balls as MI won a last-ball thriller.

Here’s a look at major talking points:

Kieron Pollard- The difference between the two sides

When Kieron Pollard is middling the ball right from the start of his innings, you get a feeling that the opposition is in trouble. MS Dhoni, too, must have felt that. Perhaps, you couldn’t do much as an opposition when a player like Kieron Pollard is in the mood.

While CSK bowlers would feel guilty of giving too many full-tosses to the West Indian, the latter made sure he hit every bad delivery out of the park. With 137 runs needed in just 62, if there was one man from the MI dugout who could take the team home, it was Kieron Pollard.

He started the carnage with three sixes off Ravindra Jadeja in a single over, followed by two more sixes in the next over to Lungi Ngidi. Later in the post-match presentation he mentioned, he wanted to take on Jadeja in that over to build the momentum for the coming overs.

Pollard’s ability to hit sixes helped the team minimize the required-run rate pretty quickly and also take the pressure off from the batsman at the other end. Sam Curran bowled well in the death overs and gave Lungi Ngidi 16 runs in the final over to defend. However, it was never going to be enough, given the mood Pollard was in. After hitting 8 sixes and 6 fours, he eventually had to run a double to win the game for the side.

MI’s middle-order finally coming to the party

It took as many as 7 games for Mumbai’s strong middle-order to announce their arrival in IPL 2021. Due to lack of support from Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard in the middle and death overs, MI couldn't execute their plans at Chepauk. In Delhi, they are getting in the groove very well.

On Saturday at Arun Jaitley Stadium, the middle-order reminded everyone why they are rated so highly in T20 cricket. Rohit Sharma (35) and Quinton de Kock (38) struck a 71-run partnership and laid a perfect platform for upcoming batters. But, Mumbai still needed the Pandya brothers and Kieron Pollard to finish the games for them. On this occasion, they didn’t disappoint and stepped up to the occasion.

Mumbai Indians wasn’t in a great position when Pollard joined Krunal Pandya at the crease. CSK did everything right until then. However, they had no answers to MI’s middle-order carnage in the last 10 overs. Pollard was the wrecker in chief, while Hardik and Krunal too made valuable contributions.

Runs from the trio will come as a big relief for the team, who haven’t been at the top of their game thus far in the tournament.

Ambati Rayudu’s 27-ball 72 wins hearts

Faf du Plessis brought up his fourth half-century of IPL 2021 off just 28 balls. Moeen Ali too scored 58 runs off 36 balls. The duo set a perfect platform for the team to score a big total. However, Kieron Pollard’s two back-to-back wickets in du Plessis and Suresh Raina put the brakes on CSK's juggernaut. Chennai needed someone to guide the team and carry on the momentum. Among all the players, very few would have backed Ambati Rayudu to do the job for them.

Instead, he went on to play, arguably, his best knock in IPL. Rayudu hammered MI bowlers to all parts of the ground. To smash the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult to sixes all across the ground tells you how good that knock was. Rayudu made full use of the small boundaries and tore apart MI’s bowling completely.

He scored 72 runs off just 27 balls, hitting 4 fours and 7 sixes during his knock. His innings might have come for a losing cause but it should go down as one of the best knocks.

Questions To Be Answered

Given the cutters and slower deliveries prove useful on a small Delhi ground; was it a good decision to opt for Lungi Ngidi ahead of Dwayne Bravo? Would CSK bring back Bravo in the next game to strengthen their bowling department?

What Lies Ahead For Both Sides

Despite losing the last game, CSK still firmly placed at the top of the table. They would be keen to register consecutive wins in the next two games. They play their next game against Rajasthan Royals on Wednesday.

After winning against CSK, MI are have strengthened their position on the table. They will face SRH in their next game on Tuesday.

Records Broken

1. Faf du Plessis became the third batsman to surpass 300 runs this season (320).

2. Ambati Rayudu has become the joint-second fastest half-centurion for CSK.

3. Jasprit Bumrah has registered his worst bowling figures in the IPL (56). His previous worst tally came against DC in 2015 (55 runs).


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