The match between Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab was an absolute humdinger and Mumbai Indians rode to victory on the back of a Kieron Pollard blitzkrieg. It was an evenly-contested match and tempers flared during the Mumbai Indians chase.
The hosts were chasing 198 to win and were reduced to 94/4 with just 8 more overs to go. In walked Hardik Pandya to join his captain Kieron Pollard. Hardus Viljoen, who had the ball in hand, marched up to Hardik and gave him a stern glare. Never one to back down, Pandya too puffed out his chest and stared Viljoen down.
The South African then backed away with a wry grin on his face, but the template was set for the evening. Hardik tried to smack Viljoen for the rest of innings and when he perished trying to tee off against Mohammed Shami, he was also given a heated send-off by KXIP bowlers.
Pandya believed Pollard was always backing himself
Pandya's dismissal was followed by a brutal assault by Kieron Pollard as the stand-in skipper smoked 83 off 31 balls and Mumbai Indians snuck home with three wickets to spare.
"Heart is pumping pretty fast. Pollard is a legend! One guy who could do this, it was Kieron Pollard. That time and situation needed both of us had to go for it but I could not connect much today. Pollard was backing himself and for the first time in my life while sitting outside I thought 17 per over is a par score," Hardik said after the match.
Speaking about his own innings, Kieron Pollard said that he promoted himself up the order in order to combat the off-spin of Ashwin. Also, he conceded that the pitch at Wankhede was a true batting strip and it was not too conducive for the bowlers.
"I went up the order because I enjoy batting at Wankhede. The plan was to attack Ashwin as spin wasn't doing great. Unfortunately, it didn't happen but it was about staying calm. Was a difficult pitch to bowl on and good to bat on, so we did well with the ball after the start they got. We did pull things back in the middle overs a bit but lost the plot at the end. Again, can't be harsh on the bowlers," Pollard said after the match.