One man making all the magic

2010-09-17 00:00

THE Mumbai Indians beat a gutsy Guyana by 31 runs last night, but there was only one name on everyone’s lips.

Cricket is not supposed to be a one-man game, unless he happens to be a towering all-rounder who can blast sixes further than most men can hit a six-iron.

Kieron Pollard smashed his neighbouring islanders to the tune of nine sixes yesterday, some high and mighty, and others just bludgeoned brilliantly.

On the same day that Andrew Flintoff officially bowed out, Pollard emphatically showed that the world goes on.

And how?

Yes, it was a Guyanese attack that had as much venom as a brown house snake. But to rattle up 72 runs off 30 balls still takes some doing.

“I enjoyed batting a bit higher up,” the man-mountain quipped.

“I got a chance to play myself in first.”

That Mumbai will almost certainly bow out at the group stage is a travesty, considering just how potent their line-up is.

Sachin Tendulkar, the Mumbai captain, paid rich tribute to Pollard, not least for his patience — and his awesome power.

“He has a terrific back swing and awesome power, but he paced himself very well today.”

Tendulkar himself had scored a curious 48, which sounds decent enough if one conveniently forgets that the Indian legend could have been out on a half dozen occasions.

Pollard’s sanguine start belied the carnage that was to follow, because this was a man on a revenge mission.

“They knocked my Trinidad out in the semis back home, so there was that thought of revenge at the back of my mind,” the softly spoken Pollard added.

Guyana at least made a fist of it, with Ramnaresh Sarwan swinging merrily to make 46 and at least kept the crowds interested.

But their abject display in the field was always likely to count against them, as Mumbai rattled up 184 for 4.

With Guyana needing 72 off their last 30 balls to win, funnily enough, it was clear that the difference in the contest was going to be Pollard.

Kingsmead gasped every time the ball left his blade, and they will hope for more heroics in Sunday’s big game involving Mumbai and the Bangalore Royal Challengers.

The Challengers, meanwhile, face the surprise package of the tournament, the South Australian Redbacks at Kingsmead tonight.

The match could yet seal Mumbai’s fate because if Bangalore overcome the Aussie franchise, one would expect the Redbacks to beat Guyana in their final group game. That would mean even a massive win for Tendulkar’s men on Sunday would not be enough to overhaul the three wins apiece of Bangalore and South Australia.

But the massive ‘if’ in the above sentence doesn’t leave room for the crazy nature of T20 cricket. A Pollard or two here and there, and we could yet see Mumbai dancing under the Sunday moon if they sneak into the play-offs.

There’s that word again.

Royal Challengers v Redbacks 5.30 pm tonight, SS2.

Mumbai Indians

S Dhawan c EA Crandon b Bishoo39

SR Tendulkar st Christian b Bishoo48

KA Pollard not out72

SS Tiwary c Barnwell b Bishoo0

AT Rayudu b EA Crandon4

JP Duminy not out14

Extras: (lb 2, w 5)7

TOTAL: (4 wickets; 20 overs; 85 mins) 184

Did not bat: DJ Bravo, Harbhajan Singh, Z Khan, SL Malinga, AG Murtaza

Fow:1-82 (Tendulkar, 10.5 ov), 2-98 (Dhawan, 14.2 ov), 3-99 (Tiwary, 14.6 ov), 4-152 (Rayudu, 18.3 ov)

Bowling: PG Wintz 4 0 46 0; EA Crandon 4 0 44 1 (3w); CD Barnwell 4 0 33 0; RT Crandon 4 0 25 0 (1w); D Bishoo 4 0 34 3 (1w)

Guyana

TM Dowlin c Tiwary b Bravo7

S Chattergoon c Duminy b Malinga1

RR Sarwan c Malinga b Harbhajan Singh46

N Deonarine c Dhawan b Bravo27

CD Barnwell c Tendulkar b Harbhajan Singh24

RT Crandon not out16

JA Foo c Rayudu b Khan1

EA Crandon not out2

Extras: (b 8, lb 4, w 17)29

TOTAL: (6 wickets; 20 overs; 85 mins)153

Did not bat: DO Christian†, D Bishoo, PG Wintz

Fow:1-15 (Chattergoon, 1.6 ov), 2-45 (Dowlin, 6.6 ov), 3-91 (Deonarine, 12.5 ov), 4-118 (Sarwan, 15.3 ov), 5-137 (Barnwell, 17.3 ov), 6-148 (Foo, 18.6 ov)

Bowling: Z Khan 4 0 17 1 (3w); SL Malinga 4 0 28 1 (1w); DJ Bravo 3 0 18 2 (2w); Harbhajan Singh 4 0 33 2 (1w); KA Pollard 2 0 22 0; AG Murtaza 3 0 23 0 (1w)

Toss: Mumbai Indians, who chose to bat

Points: Mumbai Indians 2, Guyana 0

Player of the match: KA Pollard (Mumbai Indians)

Umpires: Aleem Dar (Pakistan) and JD Cloete

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