Kieron Pollard's responsible yet attacking innings helped Mumbai Indians open their account in IPL 6 as they beat Chennai Super Kings by nine runs at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Saturday.
Pollard held the Mumbai innings together, smashing an unbeaten 57 off just 38 balls. As expected, there were more sixes (5) in his innings than fours (4). He also shared an unbroken 65 runs stand for the seventh wicket with Harbhajan Singh, who made 21 not out. The two got together at 6 for 83 and took Mumbai to a respectable 148.
Chennai never looked comfortable in their chase before MS Dhoni, the Chennai skipper, opened his shoulders. His 51 off 26 came when CSK needed almost 12 runs an over. He launched the ball three times into the stands and his fourth could have almost sealed the deal for CSK had Pollard not taken a stunning catch at the midwicket fence. Mumbai eventually restricted the hosts for 139 for 9.
Mumbai got off to a worst possible start as their star pair, Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting, got out cheaply once again, having made low scores in team's earlier game against Royal Challengers Bangalore. Tendulkar was dismayed when he was given out leg before on the first ball he faced. Ankit Rajpoot, the Uttar Pradesh medium-pacer playing his first game for CSK, had the wicket of Ponting soon after when the former Aussie captain was a bit early attempting a pull shot. He was caught at slip by Ravichandran Ashwin.
The wickets kept tumbling for Mumbai as Rohit Sharma (8), Ambati Rayudu (7) and Dwayne Smith (3) fell one after another. Rohit, already an umpteenth time in his career, failed to live up to the expectations. He became Dwayne Bravo's first victim, getting caught behind. Rayudu tried a heave off Ben Laughlin, got a thick outside edge and was taken cleanly by Dirk Nannes at third man. Smith decided to take on Ashwin too early in his innings, getting holed out to Bravo at long-on.
But Pollard continued his power-packed knock, hitting sixes almost at will, reaching his fifty off just 35 balls and taking Mumbai to a respectable score. Harbhajan too played his part, smashing a four and six in his 21-ball knock.
Like Mumbai, CSK too had a terrible start, losing five wickets for just 66, with Murali Vijay (5), Suresh Raina (10), Mike Hussey (20), Dwayne Bravo (10) and Badrinath (16) getting out without contributing much. Dhoni once again played his part but couldn't take his side over the line this time.