Kieron Pollard scripted one of the most memorable chases in IPL history on Friday, playing a terrific knock to guide Mumbai Indians to their third win this season. However, more than the two points the former champions earned, it will be the manner in which they won that should be the driving force as they host Gujarat Lions at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday.
Chasing 143 at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, Mumbai Indians lost their first four wickets for just seven runs as West Indies spinner Samuel Badree made a dream debut in RCB colours to claim a hat-trick in the third over. However, Pollard stitched a 93-run partnership for the sixth wicket to turn the game on its head and steer his side to the top of the table.
While this has been Mumbai Indians’ best start since 2013 when they won three of their first four games, Gujarat Lions finally managed to register a win this season, beating Rising Pune Supergiant by seven wickets at Rajkot on Friday.
After a disastrous start to their campaign, the Lions bounced back in style with their opening pair putting up 94 runs on Friday. Dwayne Smith fell just three runs short of his half century but along with McCullum (49), he did enough to set the tone for the innings.
In the bowling department too, it was a dream debut for Andrew Tye who had to wait for 34 games before featuring in the IPL. His figures of 5/17 are not just his best in the shortest format, they are also the best for a player on IPL debut.
On the other hand, Mumbai have been solid in their show so far. A major reason for their success has been the brilliance of the Pandya brothers. With 163 runs between them, Hardik and Krunal have accounted for nearly one-fourth of the total runs scored by Mumbai (668) in the four matches so far, while their eight wickets account for more than one-third of the total (25) scalped by their team in the tournament.
However, captain Rohit Sharma’s form (nine runs in four matches) has so far failed to enthuse the team. Sharma, out with a thigh injury since November last year, had played two games in the Vijay Hazare Trophy as well, but aggregated only 20 runs.
Although his lean patch hasn’t hurt Mumbai Indians so far, it might be a worrying factor if the run extends for a few more games. The fans will want it to end against the Lions, against whom Mumbai are yet to register a victory in the IPL so far.