Mumbai Indians 197-6 (Pollard 64, Rayudu 47no) beat
Rajasthan Royals 170 (Shah 76) by 27 runs
Indian Premier League, Mumbai
Kieron Pollard blasted a boundary-filled 64 in 33 balls and then took four wickets as the Mumbai Indians racked up 197 for six on their way to a 27-run win over the Rajasthan Royals in the latest Indian Premier League 2012 match.
They did not have things their own way, however, as Owais Shah's excellent innings of 76 in 42 deliveries made them work for their victory before the Royals were bowled out for 170 in reply.
Munaf Patel's haul of four for 28 and Pollard's figures of four for 44 ensured that the Mumbai Indians returned to the top of the table with their third win in four matches.
The Mumbai side got off to a decent start despite Richard Levi initially struggling to get left-arm spinner Ankeet Chavan away. Levi broke the shackles to hit 29 in 22 balls and Tirumalasetti Suman made ten in as many deliveries before was well caught by Siddharth Trivedi, diving to his left to snatch a lofted drive off Amit Singh.
Levi was then joined by Rohit Sharma, who placed two sumptuous drives through the off side for boundaries and hit a six before both he and Levi were bowled by Brad Hogg.
That set the stage for Ambati Rayudu and Kieron Pollard to put together a remarkable partnership worth 94 in eight overs and four balls.
Pollard led the charge with some monstrous blows including 22 from one Johan Botha over and the largest six of the tournament as he sped to a maiden IPL half-century.
He struck six fours and four maximums, hitting 64 in 33 balls before drilling Chavan to Ajinkya Rahane at long on.
Rayudu batted on, closing on 47 not out in 32 balls with three big sixes of his own and after Dinesh Karthik (0) and James Franklin (2) fell cheaply, captain Harbhajan Singh hit the first two balls he faced for six and then added another boundary to close on 18 in just six balls.
They carried that momentum forward to their fielding effort and opening the bowling Munaf Patel () had Rahul Dravid caught by Suman for three and Shreevats Goswami caught behind by Karthik without scoring in consecutive deliveries.
Showing admirable fighting spirit, Ajinkya Rahane and Owais Shah put on 82 for the third wicket but their enterprising stand came to an end when Rahane chipped Pollard to Levi at long on having made 40 in 31 balls.
Shah flicked Pollard over deep backward square to reach a superb 32-ball half-century, going on to hit x fours and x sixes to put the Mumbai side under some unexpected pressure.
Harbhajan turned to Lasith Malinga earlier than he might usually have done and he got an instant response when Shah was clean bowled, ending a fine innings of 76 in 42 balls that thrilled and worried the packed crowd in equal measure.
Malinga then struck again with a slower ball that Botha (2) could only loft to Pollard down the ground to complete a miserable game for the South African.
Kevon Cooper (14) hit two huge sixes was then bowled by Munaf and that really was the end of the Royals' challenge.
Pollard capped a wonderful all-round display with three wickets in four balls by dismising Ashok Menaria (20), Chavan (4) and Amit Singh (0), the latter with an audacious slower ball.
He finished with figures of four or 44 to run away with the man-of-the-match award.
The match was rounded off when Hogg was caught by Franklin off Munaf, who returned four for 28 to move into the lead in th race for the purple cap.
© Cricket World 2012