Mumbai Indians jolt Delhi Daredevils’ semis hopes

Kieron Pollard blasted a stunning 13-ball unbeaten 45 and then produced a superb bowling and fielding performance as Mumbai Indians thumped Delhi Daredevils by 39 runs in their IPL match here on Tuesday.

West Indian Pollard used his massive frame to produce a late blitzkrieg, scoring five sixes and two fours in 13 balls to take table toppers Mumbai 183 for four after electing to bat at the Brabourne Stadium.

The Trinidadian, who was bought at the last IPL auction for a sum exceeding the cap of USD 750,000, then bowled an economical spell of 4-0-15-0 and also made a run-out of Paul Collingwood.

Chasing 184, Delhi, who needed a win for improving their semi-final chances, faltered against the determined Mumbai bowling and fielding efforts and were stranded at 144 for seven.

David Warner briefly threatened to take the Mumbai attack by the scruff but fell for 31 in 15 balls and the rest of the batsmen flopped. Two key batsmen — Virender Sehwag (20) and Paul Collingwood (2) -? were run out, a repeat of their poor display in running between the wickets against Kings XI Punjab in their last match.

Andrew McDonald remained unconquered on 33 along with Pradeep Sangwan (6).

Left arm spinner Murtaza Ali, included in the team after a gap of few matches, bowled extremely well to return figures of two for 18 while Dilhara Fernando, getting his first match, ended up with two for 32.

With the win on Tuesday, Mumbai, who have already qualified for the semi-finals, took their tally of points to 18 and are sure to top the table at the conclusion of the league phase.

Delhi remained stranded at 12 points and need to win their last two ties – against Chennai Super Kings away and Deccan Chargers at home – to enter the semi-finals.

Delhi started their run-chase in a very impressive fashion by rattling off runs in a breezy manner with Warner, who struck five fours and a six in his 15-ball 31, in his usual punishing mood, before the innings went into a tail-spin.

Left-handed opener Warner went hammer and tongs at the Mumbai bowlers and he singled out Zaheer Khan for some rough treatment by hitting the left-arm pacer for two fours and an effortless straight six in the second over.

He then attacked Dilhara Fernando, who was included in the team for over-worked Lasith Malinga, for two fours before the Sri Lankan extracted revenge by having him caught at mid off – a good running catch by Murtaza Ali. Delhi were 39 four one in the fourth over then.

Fernando should have dismissed Sehwag too at almost the same spot but the same fielder grassed the skier in same over.

Delhi, then, suffered a double blow as they lost both Sehwag and skipper Gautam Gambhir in the space of six balls and for the addition of three runs.

Gambhir flicked a return catch to Harbhajan Singh after hitting the off-spinner for a four while Sehwag was run out going for a non-existent second to leave Delhi at a difficult 75 for three in the eighth over.

More setbacks followed when AB de Villiers, back in the team after losing his place, failed to read an arm ball from young left-arm slow bowler Murtaza and was trapped leg before.

Collingwood was foolishly run out and Dinesh Karthik was beaten comprehensively by a faster ball from Murtaza to find his sumps knocked off.

From 72 for one, Delhi were left gasping at 94 for six, requiring 90 runs in the last eight overs. The task proved too much for the rest of the batsmen.

Earlier, West Indian Kieron Pollard struck lusty blows at the fag end of the innings to remain unbeaten on 45 and take Mumbai Indians to an impressive 183 for four.

Till powerfully built Pollard’s arrival at crease, Delhi had things under control but in only 13 balls he changed the complexion of innings by slamming five sixes and two fours.

The Trinidadian’s late-order pyrotechnics helped MI add 39 runs in last two overs and give the home team a big total.

Pollard and J P Duminy (21 not out in 14 balls) added 60 runs in the last 18 balls that totally upset the calculations of Delhi whose bowlers’ fine display kept Mumbai down to manageable levels for the major part of the innings.

Seeking a crucial victory to keep alive their semifinal hopes, the visitors struck blows at regular intervals and did not allow any home team batsman, including captain Sachin Tendulkar, to score big till Pollard’s blitz.

Tendulkar, coming into the tie on the back of his match-winning knock of 89 not out against Rajasthan Royals in Jaipur, started off well but departed for 30.

Saurabh Tiwary (38 in 28 balls) and Ambati Rayudu (24 in 21 balls) also did their bit before Pollard struck massive blows at the fag end.

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