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The fixture, billed as the most anticipated clash of the IPL, ended up being just that, going down to the last ball. Just when one thought Ambati Rayudu had played the knock of the evening when Chennai Super Kings batted first, Pollard (87* off 34 balls) outdid his former teammate at the Mumbai Indians by coming up with a knock of unimaginable proportions.
Rayudu got a 20-ball 50 in setting up the target for CSK and Pollard got a 17-ball 50 to help his team achieve it. Faf du Plessis, who otherwise did everything right in the evening, would rue dropping an easy catch to get rid of the MI all-rounder.
Earlier in the evening, MI had won the toss and put CSK in. The decision appeared a brilliant one as Trent Boult opened the attack with a menacing first over, dismissing Gaikwad right at the start.
It did look like Mumbai had called it right as Ali joined du Plessis just on the fifth ball of the first over. The two batsmen coming together though was only the beginning of what would go on to be a dreadful first innings for MI.
Six years after Delhi had taken Jasprit Bumrah for his costliest over in the IPL (1-55), Chennai Super Kings top-order handed the pacer worse figures this evening.
Bumrah conceded a run more than what he’d managed that evening in 2015 as MI’s six full-time bowlers got badgered at over 10 runs an over. It’s not every day that a batsman walks in at No. 5 and overshadows two of his teammates who’ve already scored half centuries at a strike rate of 178.57 and 161.11.
That is precisely what Rayudu did. At a strike-rate of 266.66, four fours and seven sixes, Rayudu blasted 72 of just 27 deliveries. And yet, it was Pollard who had the last laugh.
Towering over the CSK attack – with Sam Curran the only exception – the Trinidadian played one of his fiercest knocks to see Mumbai through on the day.