BANGALORE, India, CMC – Kieron Pollard joined the 7000-run club with a stunning Man-of-the-Match half-century, trumping a brilliant hat-trick from fellow Trinidadian Samuel Badree to propel Mumbai Indians to a rollicking four-wicket victory over Chris Gayle’s Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League here Friday.
Set 143 for victory at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Mumbai were tottering on seven runs for four wickets in the third over after leg-spinner Badree removed Parthiv Patel (3), Mitchell McClenaghan (0) and Captain Rohit Sharma (0) in successive deliveries.
But veteran Pollard arrived to play a blinder, lashing a top score of 70 off 47 deliveries to rescue the run chase and steer the visitors to their third win in four outings with seven balls to spare.
The right-hander blasted three fours and five sixes to mark his 32nd half-century in T20s and become only the fifth batsman to pass 7 000 runs in the shortest format.
He now has 7048 runs and sits fourth on the list headed by Gayle who ironically missed out on becoming the first player to reach 10000 runs in T20s when he was dismissed for 22.
Sent in, RCB got a handy start as Gayle put on 63 with Captain Virat Kohli who top-scored with 62 off 47 deliveries.
The left-handed Gayle was uncharacteristically slow, facing 27 balls and hitting two fours and a six before edging a pull at a short ball to fall to a catch at the wicket off seamer Hardik Pandya.
Gayle tops the list of T20 run-getters with 9997 runs, well ahead of New Zealander Brendon McCullum on 7 411 and third placed Brad Hodge with 7 338.
Australian David Warner is the other batsman in the elite club with 7011.
Mumbai’s run chase started dismally when Englishman Jos Buttler was caught at mid-wicket by Gayle off pacer Stuart Binny for two with the score on seven in the second over.
Badree then stunned RCB in the following over. The West Indies star claimed Parthiv chipping a catch to Gayle at cover, had New Zealander McClenaghan taken at long-on next ball off a low full toss and completed his hat-trick when he bowled Rohit with a googly.
However, Pollard hit back for Mumbai, engineering a match-winning 93-run, fifth wicket stand with Krunal Pandya (37 not out), which broke RCB’s spirit.
Pollard’s first 20 balls yielded just 18 runs but he then steadily upped the tempo to reach his fifty off 41balls, hitting left-arm spinner Pawan Negi for a straight six to bring up the landmark.
By the time he holed out to AB de Villiers in the deep off leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal in the 18th over, Mumbai were well on their way to victory.