The Trinidadian struck 8 sixes and 2 fours en route his 27-ball 66 to lead Mumbai to victory over Hyderabad. (BCCI Image) (BCCI)
Mumbai: His whirlwind knock gave Mumbai Indians the crucial win over Sunrisers Hyderabad on Monday, but West Indian swashbuckler Kieron Pollard was not even sure about playing the game as he was slightly under the weather due to flu.
"I am still sniffling a bit. I missed the game against Pune, slightly under the flu. But I knew how important the game was. I came for practice yesterday; I was striking the ball pretty well," Pollard said at the post-match conference
"So once you are able to move and able to bat, thought I was fit enough to play. The management decided obviously. We knew how important the game was and that was it," he added. Mumbai were struggling at 99 for 3 and needed 80 runs to win off 40 balls when Pollard came out to bat and smashed an unbeaten 27-ball 66 to steer the team home.
The Trinidadian, who struck eight sixes and two fours, said with the asking rate high, he had to go for the big shots. "The situation dictated itself when you walk in to bat at 13 runs an over and if you block two balls, it gets up to 15 [runs per over] in no time," he said.
"It is a matter of backing yourself. The situation dictates itself and you have to play each ball on its merit and back your ability to clear the boundaries. Actually choose which bowler you want to hit and capitalise on," he added.
The big-hitting West Indian had been struggling with the bat in the last few games but delivered in the crucial match. "When you play against opponents, they study you and they are entitled to bowl well. When we played Sunrisers in Hyderabad, they bowled to their strengths; that was their home ground," Pollard said.
"At the end of the day, you have to take everything in stride and that is how I do it. You come out some days and hit the ball, and it is a matter of backing yourself. Today was a good wicket. Anything can happen but today was just one of those days."
Asked if it was his best knock to date, Pollard said it was difficult to say. "At the end of the day, I have played a lot of cricket. To determine if it is the best knock, it it is difficult to judge at this point of time. It was a match-winning innings; it is an innings where we won the game and it is more important to me.
"If I make 10 off two balls, or whatever, once you win the game that is more important to me and not scores or if it is my best [performance]," he said.