Chennai Super Kings (CSK) head coach Stephen Fleming has said that there was a reason why MS Dhoni kept a spread-out field on the last ball against Kieron Pollard when Mumbai Indians (MI) needed just two runs to win. Fleming suggested that CSK were wary of Pollard’s big-hitting prowess, so there were fielders stationed at the boundary.
Kieron Pollard scored a swashbuckling unbeaten 87 off only 34 balls, hitting six fours and eight maximums, as MI overhauled a stiff 219-run target off the last ball to produce their tallest successful chase in IPL history.
Defying conventional wisdom, MS Dhoni kept most of his fielders outside the 30-yeard circle on the last ball. Lungi Ngidi bowled a sharp yorker, which elicited a grounded hit to long-on from Kieron Pollard. The deep fielder made a fine effort but couldn’t stop the batting pair from completing two runs and seal the win for MI.
Addressing the post-match press conference, Stephen Fleming said that he was not surprised to see a spread field, as CSK were looking for a lucky run-out or a 2019 IPL final-like finish to win the game.
“Not really (if he was surprised to see the field). Pollard is such a good timer of the ball that you never know what he’s going to do. Got so much to win, to be honest, we were looking for something like the stumps being hit or like the result we had when we got beaten in the (2019) final. So we’ll go have a look over that. I think there are a lot of other instances that we’ll have a look at rather than just the last ball,” said Fleming.
In a similar match situation in the summit clash of IPL 2019, MI’s veteran pacer Lasith Malinga bowled a slow, dipping yorker to dismiss Shardul Thakur off the last ball to seal his team’s title with a one-run win.
“One of the best innings from Kieron Pollard” – Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma was all praise for Kieron Pollard after MI’s stunning way, rating the big West Indian’s knock one the best he has ever seen.
“I have never seen a chase like that before. One of the best innings from Polly. Brilliant to see that from the outside. Very proud of the efforts the boys put in,” said Sharma in the post-match presentation.
Kieron Pollard not only shone with the bat but also picked up two crucial wickets – Suresh Raina and Faf du Plessis – in the middle overs to peg back CSK. Unsurprisingly, the MI all-rounder was deservingly awarded the Player of the Match for his fabulous all-round performance.