Last season at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai Indians’ Keiron Pollard and Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Mitchell Starc were party to one of cricket’s ugliest on-field bust-ups.
A simmering verbal back and forth had erupted with Pollard hurling a bat at Starc after the latter had thrown a ball at the West Indian. The indiscretion resulted in a reprimand for both.
On Sunday, the two will face each other as Mumbai Indians host Royal Challengers Bangalore at the same venue in a crucial league game.
Pollard has been known to ramp up tensions. Earlier in the season, during the first leg of the contest, Pollard had taped his mouth following his ‘chat’ with RCB’s Chris Gayle.
After the act, former India captain Sunil Gavaskar had suggested that the all-rounder should be banned for a few games.
Pollard has been a perennial rabble-rouser in the IPL. A few seasons ago he had entered into an ugly spat with Shane Watson during a match.
The on-field verbal duel between Pollard and Watson had even prompted the then Rajasthan captain Rahul Dravid to lash out at the Trinidadian and term his act “an act of cowardice”.
However, with a place in the playoffs at stake, Mumbai Indians will hope Pollard lets his work do the talking.
Starc, on the other hand, has been a revelation for the RCB. He is currently the team’s top wicket-taker and will lead their bowling attack on Sunday.
Pollard is yet to make a splash with either both bat or ball. In fact, with the ball, he has managed to take just one wicket in 11 games. However, with the return of Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga, Mumbai will back themselves to win the contest.
But with Starc leading the bowling and the likes of Gayle, AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli shoring up the batting, RCB will pack more than a punch.
Mumbai and Bangalore are both seeking their sixth straight win of the competition and a keen contest is on the cards. With a colourful backdrop already in place, sparks too look set to fly.