The stage was set for another Kieron Pollard special at the Wankhede Stadium in Match 51 of the 2017 Indian Premier League. After blasting four sixes and one four and getting Mumbai Indians well and truly within touching distance of the 231-run target Kings XI Punjab had set, all Pollard had to do was score 16 off the final over to guide his team home.
Pollard had scored 42 runs off just 18 balls till then, on a day which would produce the second highest match aggregate in IPL history.
But in the last over, the tall West Indian ran into KXIP’s reliable workhorse, Mohit Sharma. On a batting friendly wicket where the ball wasn’t doing much talking, Sharma had been dispatched for 49 runs off his three overs even though he had managed to bag two wickets. The right arm pacer’s belief in his own ability had remained strong and when captain Glen Maxwell threw him the ball in the final over, he knew what he had to do.
After being punished off the second delivery of the over for a six over deep mid-wicket when he bowled one of his favourite knuckle balls, Sharma altered his length and gave nothing away to the Trinidadian. Nine were needed off the last four, but Sharma kept his nerves and bowled in the block hole, cleverly varied his pace and utterly confused the big hitter.
What a match between @mipaltan & @lionsdenkxip! Not a great day to be a bowler, even Sunil Gavaskar felt sorry for bowlers! #eit20 #MIvKXIP pic.twitter.com/8yyuibdBOQ— SonyLIV (@SonyLIV) May 11, 2017
The next four balls of the over went for just one run and the Kings sailed home by a 7-run margin. His last three balls were inch-perfect yorkers that kept Pollard planted, unable to react with Harbhajan Singh at the other end.
The team and fans burst out in celebration, but for Sharma, it was just another day in the office.
What a brilliant over too from Mohit Sharma. @lionsdenkxip are alive and qualification is still open— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) May 11, 2017
51st match (N), Indian Premier League at Mumbai, May 11, 2017
Kings XI Punjab 230 for 3 (Wriddhiman Saha 93*) beat
Mumbai Indians 223 for 6 (Mohit Sharma 2-57) by 7 runs