Kieron Pollard

EXCITED: Kieron Pollard of Mumbai Indians appeals for the wicket of Ravindra Jadeja of the Chennai Super Kings during match 27 of the Vivo Indian Premier League at the Arun Jaitley Stadium, Delhi, India, yesterday. —Photo courtesy IPL

Kieron Pollard held his nerve to smash 16 runs off the final over, as his scintillating half-century propelled reigning champions Mumbai Indians to a dramatic last-ball, four-wicket victory over Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League here yesterday.

Chasing an imposing 219 at the Arun Jaitley Stadium, Mumbai got a stunning 34-ball unbeaten 87 from the West Indies white-ball captain while South African Quinton De Kock chipped in with 38, opening partner Rohit Sharma, 35, and Krunal Pandya, 32.

Even then, Mumbai found themselves still up against it on 203 for six at the end of a thrilling penultimate over which served up two sixes and two wickets.

However, Pollard took matters into his own hands. He refused a single off the first delivery of the final over from South African speedster Lungi Ngidi before inside-edging the next ball to the ropes at deep square, and then carting a high full toss to the fine-leg boundary.

He was kept scoreless off the fourth ball but then cleared the deep square-leg boundary with a full toss, leaving two runs to get off the final ball of the game.

Pollard then stabbed an excellent full length delivery down the ground and scampered two with Dhawal Kulkarni, to deliver a sensational win for Mumbai.

“When he does something like this you’re genuinely speechless,” said Pollard’s teammate Hardik Pandya, who bludgeoned two sixes in the 19th over in a seven-ball 16.

“It’s fantastic, I would say inspirational to watch someone consistently do it and on his day, do something this amazing.”

Pollard belted a half-dozen fours and eight towering sixes – three coming in the 13th over from left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja as Mumbai gathered a staggering 138 runs in the last ten overs.

His 53rd T20 half-century was the fastest of the tournament, needing just 17 balls, and was achieved with the last of three fours in the 15th over from Shardul Thakur which leaked 23 runs.

Man-of-the-Match Pollard had earlier grabbed two wickets in two overs of slow medium which cost 12 runs as CSK, sent in, marched to an impressive 218 for four of their 20 overs on an excellent batting track.

Ambati Rayudi top-scored with an unbeaten 72 off 27 deliveries while England’s Moeen Ali (58) and South African Faf du Plessis (50) chipped in with half-centuries.

Ruturaj Gaikwad (four) fell to the fourth ball of the contest but Moeen and du Plessis combined in a 108-run, second wicket stand to revive the innings.

Both departed in the space of seven balls in successive overs, however, and when Suresh Raina failed with two as Pollard struck twice in the 12th over, CSK were stuttering on 116 for four.

However, Rayudu punched four fours and seven sixes in a frenetic, 102-run, unbroken fifth wicket partnership with Ravindra Jadeja who made 22 not out, to provide a late flourish.

In reply, de Kock and Rohit put on 71 off 46 balls for the first wicket but a clatter of wickets saw the run chase falter with Mumbai stumbling to 81 for three after 10 overs.

Pollard then inspired an 89-run, fourth wicket stand with Krunal and then a 32-run partnership with his brother Hardik, to claw Mumbai back into contention.

CSK, who were without veteran all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, remained top of the league on ten points despite the defeat while Mumbai moved up to fourth on eight points.

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