Mumbai, April, 21 : KP came to the party to take his team to the final of IPL 2010. Lucky for Mumbai Indians’ fans, it was Kieron Pollard and not Kevin Pietersen.
The West Indian’s all-round show helped Mumbai Indians beat Royal Challengers Bangalore by 35 runs and make it to the final of IPL 2010.
Saurabh Tiwary and Ambhati Rayadu, and Kieron Pollard lifted the Mumbai Indians to an impressive 184-5 against the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the first semi-final of the IPL at the DY Patil Stadium on Wednesday. It will be a huge task for the tall Bangalore batting against a strong Mumbai bowling.
After getting rid of Sachin Tendulkar, Mumbai's young guns rose to the occassion. Tiwary (52 not out off 31) and Rayadu (40 of 38) set Mumbai up with a brisk 67-run stand and the big Kieron Pollard bludgeoned a 13-ball 33 as the Navi Mumbai crowd went berserk. Bangalore leaked 77 runs in the final five overs.
After Mumbai elected to bat, Bangalore struck a crucial blow early when Dale Steyn managed to send back the in-form Tendulkar for just a run-a-ball nine. The master batsman was dismissed for a single-digit score for the first time this year. Two overs later, a direct hit from Virat Kohli ended Shikhar Dhawan's knock for 12.
Everything changed in the last five overs of the Mumbai Indians' innings. The game was in a deadlock at the end of 15 overs with Mumbai on 107 for 4 - some might have even felt that Royal Challengers Bangalore held the edge - but things took a dramatic turn from there on. Saurabh Tiwary hit an enterprising half-century and Kieron Pollard played a delightful cameo to charge Mumbai to 184 for 5 at the DY Patil Stadium. It was a bridge too far even for the batting-heavy Bangalore and they never really threatened to get anywhere close to the target. The 35-run win took Mumbai to the final, and sealed their qualification for the Champions League Twenty20 to be held in September.
It was always going to be a difficult chase and things got really tough for Bangalore in the tenth over with the fall of Robin Uthappa and Rahul Dravid off successive deliveries. Bangalore had reached 80 for 2 from nine overs and had already lost Kevin Pietersen to a smart leg-side stumping by Ambati Rayudu off Harbhajan Singh; they then suffered the twin blows that effectively killed the contest. Uthappa was in hot form, collecting 18 runs from Harbhajan's over with the help of two thumping sixes, but he dragged a slower one straight to deep midwicket.
Before Bangalore could recover from that asphyxiating blow, they lost Dravid, who had played a fluent knock, to a run-out resulting from a misunderstanding with Ross Taylor. And though Taylor hung around for a while, he couldn't produce any miracle tonight. Bangalore were left to rue their ordinary effort in the field in the last five overs where they lost the game.