Sharma, Pollard lift MI
Blistering half centuries from captain Rohit Sharma and Kieron Pollard enabled Mumbai Indians (MI) recover from a shaky start and post 183 for 7 against Chennai Super Kings in IPL-8 on Friday.
At the time of going to the press, CSK were 132/2 in 10.3 overs with Faf du Plessis (11*) and Suresh Raina (5*) at the crease.
Earlier, opting to bat, Mumbai plunged to a sorry-reading 12 for three and then 57 for 4 before they were revived by Sharma (50 off 31 balls), Pollard (64 off 30) as the duo put on a pulsating stand of 75 runs off just 33 balls for the fifth wicket. While Sharma batted in his usual forthright manner to hit five fours and a six, Pollard collared the Super Kings attack to strike five sixes and four fours.
The initial recovery work was laid by a quick 24 off 21 balls by Harbhajan Singh, who was surprisingly promoted ahead of the big West Indian. Towards the end Ambati Rayudu too came up with a cameo knock of 29, inclusive of three sixes and a four, in the company of Pollard. Both fell to catches in the deep in the last over bowled by Dwayne Bravo.
The bit-hitting of Pollard, in particular, not only regaled the big crowd but also helped Mumbai add 121 runs in the second half of the innings after they were 62 for 4 after ten overs. Super Kings’ bowling looked clueless on how to stop Pollard and but for a top-drawer bowling stint by Ashish Nehra, who grabbed three for 23, while Jadeja went for 49 runs, including 26 in his fourth over, Ashwin conceded 13 in his only over. The other World Cup regular, Mohit Sharma, gave away 43 runs for one wicket.
Mumbai were off to a poor start as they lost their first three wickets inside four overs. Nehra sent back Parthiv Patel leg before for a first ball duck, when the batsman shuffled across to the fourth ball of the innings. Corey Anderson was caught brilliantly by Faf du Plessis behind bowler Nehra off the seventh ball. Simmons, playing his first game of the season in place of the injured Aaron Finch, went on the offensive in the fourth over from Ishwar Pandey before falling to the same bowler.
MI think tank surprisingly promoted Harbhajan Singh, who smashed a quick-fire 64 in 21 balls in the previous home game against Kings XI Punjab, even ahead of Pollard.
It proved to be a productive move as skipper Rohit Sharma and Harbhajan pushed the score along to 31 at the end of power play overs. Harbhajan batted aggressively to smack two fours and a six over long on off Jadeja as he and captain Sharma added 45 useful runs off 35 balls to take the score past 50 before he mistimed a shot off Mohit to be caught at backward point.