New Delhi: Having warmed the bench in the last few games, Kieron Pollard wouldn't have been dreaming of getting the do-or-die game against KXIP. However, when he finally got a chance to make a comeback, he did live up to his reputation or rather his name. While hard-hitting is associated with his reputation, experience is what makes Pollard all the more special and even more dangerous. For his knock of 50 in 23 balls powered a tottering MI to reach a competitive 186.
On Wednesday, MI did climb up swiftly early but came tumbling down even faster. At the end of 10th over, MI were tottering at 79/4 and the weight was on Pollard's shoulders to transport his side to calmer waters. On a usual day, MI wouldn't have found themselves in such a mess and Pollard would have been expected to fire from the word go. But against KXIP, there couldn't have been a better opportunity for Pollard to prove his worth.
Having been out of form, Pollard luckily found himself in a situation when he was expected to anchor the innings. That would mean that he could have taken his time to get settled in and then shift gears. In the past too, he has been in such a situation many a time and Wednesday was no different than that.
He batted opposite to his natural game, nurdling around for ones and twos. For the first 12 balls he played, he scored nearly run-a-ball before he moved towards leg to thump Axar Patel for a six over mid-wicket.
While you thought it could be a signal of Pollard beginning to spark, he kept rotating strike calmly. Actually, he knew which bowlers to target and he was looking to devour KXIP medium pacers to unleash himself. Pollard loves the ball coming at an easy pace onto the bat and bowlers such as Rajpoot and Stoinis would have been perfect preys.
Then came the time -- 13th and 14th over. It was like Pollard had been ambushing and when the right time approached, he pounced. Against Rajpoot, he 15 runs with a six and a couple of fours. Next over it was Stoinis'turn to experience his wrath. He repeated the same pattern of boundaries and reached his 50 in just 22 balls. By T20 standards, this was a quick-fire effort but in reality it was pure batting at its best. A perfect mix of calm approach and power hitting.
Alongside him, Krunal Pandya flourished and scored 32 in 23 balls. The duo produced a much-wanted stand of 65 which laid the platform for MI giving their bowlers a fair chance to turn the fortunes.