Pollard powers Mumbai Indians to win over Royals
Pollard smashed four sixes and six fours and also put on a whirlwind partnership of 96 runs off just 52 balls with Ambati Rayudu (47) to power hosts to a season-high 197 for six in front of a packed Wankhede Stadium.
The West Indian then snapped up four wickets to add to his half-century and also took a catch which won him the man of the match award. Chasing a daunting 198 to win, Rajasthan put up a spirited fight but lacked firepower to cross the finish line.
Owais Shah struck a brilliant 76 off just 42 balls with five fours and as many sixes and Ajinkya Rahane contributed 40 runs under pressure but that only helped Rajsthan muster 170 in 19.4 overs.
Shah and opener Rahane forged a stand of 82 runs in 57 balls to pull Royals from a sorry-reading seven for two to 89. After Rahane`s exit, Shah got an able partner in Ashok Meneria (20) and the two kept the Royals firmly in the hunt with a quick-fire partnership of 45 in 18 balls before Malinga snapped up Shah and next man Johan Botha in four balls to arrest the visitors` progress.
Despite the best efforts of Meneria and the rest, the Royals were fighting a losing battle.
Munaf Patel, who had taken the wickets of rival skipper Rahul Dravid and Shreevats Goswami off successive balls in his first spell, came back to pick up two more and ended up with fine figures of four for 28 while Malinga secured two for 13.
The victory, their third in four ties and the first at home this season, enabled MI log on six points and go two points clear of the rest of the field.
Earlier, the big-built Trinidadian came to the crease when the home team had slumped to 68 for three in the ninth over and smashed the ball around in his inimitable style.
Pollard hammered off-spinner Johan Botha for 22 runs in one over and then carted left-arm slow bowler Ankeet Chavan for a couple of fours and a six before holing out to long on fielder Ajinkya Rahane off the last ball of the 17th over.
The giant West Indian added 96 runs in a blazing fourth wicket stand off just 52 balls with Rayudu (47 not out in 32 balls) to help MI finish with a tall total on a wicket that helped slow bowlers.
Rayudu was the ideal foil for the big-made Pollard but also played some handsome shots to remain unconquered after striking three sixes and a four as MI surged to the highest total of the IPL season, bettering the 193 made by holders Chennai Super Kings against Deccan Chargers in Hyderabad.
MI had got off to a decent start through Richard Levi (29) and Rohit Sharma, who looked in sublime form with a well-made 13-ball 21, before both were snapped up by IPL debutant Brad Hogg with beautiful deliveries in successive overs.
Mumbai Indians, put in to bat by Royals skipper Rahul Dravid, made a quiet start before carting left arm spinner Chavan, who opened the attack, for 21 runs in the third over.
T Suman started the mayhem by stepping out to Chavan`s first ball in his second over and hoisting it over the straight field for the first six of the game.
Richard Levi, who looked a bit circumspect against the Mumbai Ranji Trophy bowler in the first over, took the cue from his Indian partner and slammed the bowler for a six and two fours in that over, all on the on-side which is the South African`s stronger suit.
Suman was dismissed off the first ball of the fourth over by Amit Singh who deceived the batsman with a slower one when he saw him come out of the crease and the lofted drive was held brilliantly by a tumbling Sidharth Trivedi at extra cover.
Rohit came to the crease and looked in terrific touch as he started with a boundary hit a back cut off Amit and then cover-drove and swung Kevon Cooper for another four and a six in the next over.
Thanks to Rohit`s belligerence after the earlier assault on Chavan, MI total leapt to 44 for one and then increased by another 10 runs by the end of the sixth over the last over of the power play.
Levi reverse swept Chinaman bowler and IPL debutant Brad Hogg for a four off the first ball he faced from the leg spinner who replaced his Australian counterpart Brad Hodge in the playing eleven.
But Hogg sent in a beauty in the same over to the rampaging Rohit who shaped to cut the faster ball by leaning back and was bowled off stump for an attractive but all-too-brief 21 to make MI 59 for 2 in the seventh over.
Hogg, with his tails up, struck another big blow in his second over by dismissing Levi with another full-length beauty as the batsman played across and was comprehensively beaten and bowled to leave MI struggling at 68 for 3. At the halfway stage of the innings the hosts had advanced to 80 without further loss.
Pollard smashed the first ball he faced from fellow-Trinidadian Cooper for a huge six over wide mid-wicket to take the score nearer the 100 mark. He then singled out off spinner Botha for severe punishment in the South African`s first over in which 23 runs were scored by the home team.