Kieron Pollard got many chances by Mumbai Indians this season for his effective power-hitting but his skills appear to be on wane in IPL 2022. On other hand, there is Tim David who has displayed his finishing skill in last two games and shown that he can step up to play a similar role to Pollard.
After going through a torrid start in IPL 2022, Mumbai Indians are out of the race to playoffs. IPL 2022 has been one of the most shocking turnarounds in the sport as two teams who share most of the titles between them are placed in the last two positions in the points table. The team has been always known to be a dominating force in the league and nothing less was expected from them this season. The team has been going through the worst but they have shown improvement in their last two games winning against might opponents like Gujarat Titans and Sunrisers Hyderabad.
The issues for MI first started with the unavailability of a second wicket-taking option along with Jasprit Bumrah. Even Bumrah has failed to take consistent wickets for the team. He has scalped only five wickets from 10 matches at an economy of 7.93. The second issue they faced was the slump in form of Rohit Sharma and Kieron Pollard. Rohit was not able to give starts to the team at the top while Kieron Pollard was struggling like never before in the middle.
With Pandya brothers not in the team this time, the responsibility to provide a finish was on the shoulders of Pollard. He has been known for clearing the fence with ease regularly in franchise cricket. With a vast experience of playing the role of a finisher in various leagues around the world, he was now an established one. However, the season has been a string of low scores for the West Indian power-hitter.
Pollard has scored just 129 runs from 10 matches at 14.33 in IPL 2022 so far. His finishing skills seem to be on the wane and he struggles against spin massively. Pollard has a strike rate of only around 70 against spin this season. In his peak, Pollard used to pick the length spot on but now he seems to be in a dilemma whether to go forward or to play from the crease. Ian Bishop also commented on his form and also said that Pollard should reinvent his game.
"He's struggling, he really is. He's trying everything, and there are weaknesses that are coming through every time. Someone holds back a wrist-spinner of some kind to bowl to him, and it's not the first time this season,” Bishop had said on Star Sports.
"He's either got to reinvent his game because he's been given a really long time this season by Mumbai. So he's got to try and reinvent himself. I don't like the catch-up, but the minimum you have to go at is a run a ball. Four off 14, 14 off 24, that's too much. You can't do that."
With Pollard going through a tough time, a transition is necessary. MI might need to have another finisher who can provide them clinical and explosive finishes just like Pollard used to do back in the day. Tim David has dropped hint in the last two matches that he can be a solid finisher for MI in the future and they should believe in him.
The cricketer from Singapore has now established himself as a quality T20 finisher playing in various leagues. David has 558 runs from 14 T20Is at 46.50 and a strike rate of 158.52. Also, he has 2042 runs from 93 T20s with a strike rate of 160.28. David has played only four matches in the season so far but he has left his impact on those games. He played his first game against DC and scored 12 runs from eight balls including one brilliant maximum. He was able to score only 1 run in the next match against RR and then was rested for a few matches.
However, the failures of batters coming lower down the order led to the return of David to the squad. One of the costliest picks of Mumbai Indians has then proved his worth so far in the tournament. It was the same opposition whom he played against last time, Rajasthan Royals. The team was chasing 159 in the match and they were on 122/4 and they needed 37 runs from 28 balls. He played a cameo of 20 runs from nine balls to finish the game with four balls to spare, The most recent match came against GT where his knock change the game. The team was heading towards 165 but David dragged them to 177.
He smashed unbeaten 44 runs from 21 balls including four sixes and helped MI post a decent total. He set himself a strong base around the middle and was smashing the ball to both parts of the ground. If the situation requires, David can also bowl off break just like Pollard used to bowl sometimes. Bishop has also praised David for his clinical strikes.
"Everybody I know in the circle I worked in asked where Tim David was when he wasn't playing," Bishop said. "He's shown in these two games why he should have been playing. Mumbai Indians, when they reflect, will have to say we didn't get it right with some of the selections we made in the first half of the tournament.
The team will now have to look towards the future and they will not have the option of swapping players as the mega auction will be after a long gap. Pollard is in the final stages of his career and MI can hand over his finishing role to the Singaporean dynamite.