Pollard inspires Mumbai Indians to 27-run win

Biswajit Jha

Mumbai: Big-hitting West Indian Kieron Pollard came up with an inspiring all-round performance to guide Mumbai Indians to a 27-run win over a fighting Rajasthan Royals on Wednesday.

Pollard first scored a brutal 64 off just 33 balls to power Mumbai to 197 in the allotted 20 overs and returned back to pick up four wickets to sink the Rajasthan innings.

Chasing 198 to win, the in-form Rajasthan outfit lost two crucial wickets early on. But Ajinkya Rahane and Owais Shah did not falter under pressure and went on clearing the boundaries instead.

Their entertaining 82-run stand gave Mumbai Indians a scare in the middle. There was a time when it looked that they would go on to win the match.

The two batsmen matched each other stroke for stroke and kept the momentum of the innings going with solid run rates.

But once Rahane departed after scoring 40 from 31 balls with 4 fours and 2 sixes, Shah took complete charge of their chase. He treated every bowler with the same disdain and slammed 5 fours and 5 fixes in his breathtaking knock of 42-ball 76. With his aggressive batting he kept the Royals’ hopes alive.

But when Malinga picked him with a perfect yorker, Mumbai sensed a chance to wrap up the Rajasthan’s innings.

Apart from Pollard, Munaf Patel picked up 4 wickets as well and became the highest wicket taker of IPL 5 and the proud owner of Purple Cap.

Malinga, as ever, bowled brilliantly picking up two crucial wickets.

Earlier, sent in to bat by Rajasthan captain Rahul Dravid, Mumbai Indians lost three wickets for 68 runs. But the 96-run stand from Ambati Rayudu (47 not out off 32 balls) and a cameo of 18 from 6 balls at the end by skipper Harbhajan Singh ensured that they posted a huge total of 197/6.