Mumbai: Kieron Pollard has played a crucial hand in hat-trick of wins for Mumbai Indians. But on Wednesday he had an extra responsibility as stand in skipper after Rohit Sharma missed the game against Kings XI Punjab due to leg injury.
The start was ideal for him in first three overs but he was all over the place, at times coming from boundary to share tactics with bowlers after they were getting hit all over the place by Chris Gayle and KL Rahul which ensured Punjab posted 197/4.
Then, Pollard promoted himself to No. 4 after MI chase was going haywire at 56/2 in the eighth over. The asking rate was well over 13 and it kept climbing with wickets falling at regular intervals. The 31-year-old Trinidadian kept composure and put pressure on bowlers with his effortless big hitting to end up hitting ten sixes and three fours in his 31-ball 83 runs.
“It’s more important that we won the game. I was able to stick around under pressure. I wanted to finish off the game. Keeping that calm head in the end was good. The guys rallied really well. That’s why it’s a team sport,” he said.
In-form Pollard has been doing well in different T20 leagues for different franchises and though out of favour in the West Indian side since 2016 he is still hopeful to have another go with the change in regime of Cricket West Indies (CWI). “There has been a lot of turmoil in West Indies cricket over the last couple of years. I was blacklisted. We have seen in the last couple of weeks there’s a change. The most I can do every time I step on the cricket field is try to put runs on the board,” he said pointing to take over by Ricky Skerritt as CWI president recently to end Dave Cameron’s reign.
“We have a new chairman of selectors, there’s a new president of the cricket board, and as I said you take it as it comes. There’s people there who have the job to select and whatever and let’s see how that goes. I’m 31 years old, I have cricket left in me. Gayle is still playing, he’s 39, and he’s whacking it all around,” he said about his hopes of being considered for the forthcoming ICC World Cup squad.
Pollard unstoppable, says KXIP’s Sriram
Kings XI Punjab bowling coach Sredharan Sriram praised Kieron Pollard for playing a match-winning knock. The former Indian all-rounder felt they had plans in place but Pollard was unstoppable on the day.
“We have seen Andre Russell (of Kolkata Knight Riders) doing it a few times. This was extraordinary. To do 13 an over for like 13 overs - took some doing and only someone like Pollard could do that,” said Sriram after his side lost on the last ball by three wickets.
Sriram defended his bowling unit. “I thought 185-190 was par for this wicket we were happy what we got. At that point of time you have to be positive and hopefully he miss-hits one. I think our plans were good but just that today he was unstoppable,” he added....