Kieron Pollard, who on Saturday played one of the greatest T20 knocks of all time, revealed that, over the years, evolving and becoming more dynamic as a batsman has helped him stay relevant at the highest level. Pollard revealed that on Saturday, all he focused was on targeting the right match-ups.
It was 11 years ago that a 22-year-old Kieron Pollard first made his debut for the Mumbai Indians, but on Saturday in Delhi, the all-rounder showed that, even at 33, he was still as good as he was a decade ago, if not better. Chasing 219, Pollard walked in with Mumbai needing 125 off 8 overs, but, against all odds, the 33-year-old pulled off an all-timer (87* off 34) to drag his side to an unlikely win.
It was not so long ago that people had written off Pollard and questioned Mumbai’s wisdom in purchasing him in the 2018 auction, but in three years the West Indian has turned out to be the biggest clutch player in the competition.
According to him, it is his evolution as a batsman that has helped him stay relevant. Speaking post match, Pollard admitted that he was a one-dimensional batsman in the first half of his career, but asserted that he now is reaping the rewards for reinventing himself, something that has enabled him to access more areas on the field.
“You have to evolve, lot of practice goes into it,” Pollard, who was named Man of the Match for his efforts, said on Saturday.
“That has helped me tremendously. I can't say I'm 360, I am maximising more angles in the field.”
No one gave Mumbai a chance when they needed 125 off 8 overs with Jadeja on a roll, but Pollard, rather bravely, took on the left-armer and smashed 20 runs off the 13th over of the chase to inject momentum into Mumbai’s innings. The Jadeja over proved to be a mini-turning point, and Pollard revealed that he targeted spin as he knew that the match-up was in his favour.
“They had four overs of spin to bowl on a small ground, I saw if I could hit a couple of sixes and then try to take it from there. Only got two overs against spin and I had to maximise that over against Jadeja. If we stay in for a period of time, couple of sixes were always going to keep us in the game.”
It was not just with the bat that the West Indies skipper made an impression as the right-armer provided two crucial breakthroughs with the ball to stall the Chennai innings post the 10-over mark. Pollard accounted for the wickets of both Faf du Plessis and Suresh Raina in the same over, and the 33-year-old expressed that he was delighted with being given the opportunity to bowl two overs.
“They just lost a wicket in Moeen, it was the best time for a seamer to come and bowl. It worked, I got two wickets and another over which is fantastic.”
A defeat would have left Mumbai in a spot of bother, but victory on Saturday means that the defending champions are now catching up with the top three, and are threatening to go on a trademark, dominant mid-season run. Pollard hoped that the thrilling win on Saturday would provide the side momentum towards the second half of the season.
“We got over the line today, I was fortunate Faf gave me that chance. Overall, a good wicket. Two wins here, hopefully that gives us the momentum going into the middle phase and the back end of the tournament.”