The West Indian’s power-hitting not enough as Mumbai Indians’ dismal run continues

Kieron Pollard’s unbeaten 33 against Delhi Daredevils should have served as an ominous sign of his rising form. However, the towering Trinidadian’s blistering 78 (48b, 3x4, 6x6) notwithstanding, Sunrisers Hyderabad squeezed through to victory over Mumbai Indians in the Pepsi Indian Premier League’s last match of the United Emirates leg at the Dubai International Stadium here on Wednesday.

Invited to bat, the Sunrisers recorded an impressive 172 for five and defended it successively by smothering the Mumbai chase 15 runs short of the target.

Incisive bowling

When the pursuit began, Bhuvneshwar Kumar was at his incisive best, one delivery moving in to rattle Rohit Sharma’s woodwork.

It was Dale Steyn who was more intimidating though, one steepler squeezing out a catch from Corey Anderson to stumper Naman Ojha. The South African speedster even had Kieron Pollard on the backfoot, the West Indian warding off a throat ball on one occasion that caused some discomfiture.

The Mumbai batsmen came to grips with the attack through Pollard and Ambati Rayudu, the former giving Amit Mishra the long handle. Rayudu feasted on the fare too, emulating his partner’s power hitting. The two tormented the bowlers until Rayudu hoisted Irfan Pathan from the off, the blow not hard enough and pouched by David Warner at mid-wicket.

Pollard posted his half-century shortly after. In the tussle to take the upper hand, Pollard made his intentions clear with his lofted golf-like shots sailing successively over long-off thrice. The only bowler who could tame him was Steyn, the tearaway beating the Caribbean more than a couple of times.

With 20 needed off the last over, Pollard played on to Pathan, the scales now tilting heavily in favour of Sunrisers. There was no way the sixth wicket pair of C.M. Gautam and Zaheer Khan could pull off the impossible.

When the Sunrisers got started, Shikhar Dhawan’s frailties with the bat persisted, this time he was caught cutting by the sole slip Harbhajan Singh off Zaheer Khan.

His fellow-opener Aaron Finch swatted Zaheer but was picked up by Ben Dunk in the covers.

Sunrisers saw a run-scoring resurgence through the third-wicket pair of Lokesh Rahul and Warner. Promoted up the order, the young Rahul lived up to the trust reposed in his abilities. Not surprisingly, he was a little sedate after Warner arrived, the left-hander smiting five sixes.

The adrenalin flow in Warner was evident, when he greeted Anderson with a six over mid-wicket. His changing hands frequently from left to right brought his downfall though, as he edged the Kiwi all-rounder to Gautam behind the stumps.

Mumbai Indians inducted Dunk in place of an out of touch Mike Hussey, while Sunrisers brought in Naman Ojha and Irfan Pathan in place of Venugopala Rao and Ishant Sharma.