Pollard steals show with stunning unbeaten 72
Guyana produce improved performance
By Sean Devers in South Africa
In association with Digicel, Carib Beer, Leisure Inn, Igloo Ice-Cream, Forest Enterprise,Dave West Indian Grocery, Cops Security & Universal DVD Club
In a match both teams had to win to keep their semi-finals hopes alive more of the pressure was on Mumbai Indians yesterday.
Their fanatical Indian supporters packed the Kingsmead Stadium in Durban demanding a vastly improved performance from their team which lost both of their opening games and with the hope that their ‘god like’ Sachin Tendulkar would produce something sensational to not only provide victory but more importantly lift his team’s net run rate.
Sachin was not at his best but still managed 48 from 32 after being dropped off successive delivers from Chris Barnwell and at 99-3 with just 5 overs left in the Mumbai Indians innings Guyana were in a strong position to create an upset win.
But Kieron Pollard, a member of the T&T side which lost to Guyana in the Caribbean Championships semi-finals, launched a vicious assault; hitting 9 massive sixes and a four in a pugnacious unbeaten 72 from just 30 balls after taking nine balls for his first 5 runs.
Pollard added 32 runs from 14 balls with JP Duminy (14 not out from 6 balls) towards the end as Mumbai Indians clobbered an amazing 85 runs in the last five overs to reach 184-4 off 20 overs.
Guyana, led by a fluent 38-ball 46 from Skipper Ramnaresh Sarwan reached 156-6 in 20 overs as they left their acceleration for too late and strangely opted to send in Royston Crandon before the big hitting Jonathon Foo.
Sewnarine Chattergoon (1 from 6) and Travis Dowlin (7 from 18) wasted 4 overs between them to score just 8 runs and the inability of the openers to get the ball away must now be a major concern as Guyana prepare to face South Africa’s Highveld Lions on Sunday in Johannesburg.
The absence of another experienced bowler at the ‘death’ after spinner Davendra Bishoo (4-0-34-3) and Royston Crandon (4-0-25-0) had brought Guyana back into the fight in the middle overs, questioned the decision to drop Lennox Cush who bowled 3 overs for 19 runs in the last game to play debutant medium pacer Paul Wintz, who was the most expensive of the bowlers with 0-46.
In conditions which turned from hot on Wednesday to damp, windy and very cold yesterday, the South Americans again had to contend psychologically with a raucous crowd and a track with bounce and ‘carry’ for the pacers but had it not been for Pollard’s fireworks, they could have well earned their first points in the competition.
Not only the Stadium but the entire Durban, South Africa’s 3rd largest city and the city with the largest Indian population outside of India, gave the impression that you were in India itself. The Bollywood music, Indian cuisine, adoring fans and thousands of Mumbai Indian flags ensured this was a ‘home’ game for Mumbai Indians.
The Soca rhythms of ‘Hot, hot, hot by Arrow who died this week in Antigua, was drowned out by the chatting of the Indians fans who finally had a chance to celebrate their team’s first win.
Yesterday Guyana made just the one change to the side which lost to Royal Challengers Bangalore in their first match and Mumbai Indians opted to bat in overcast conditions after Sarwan lost the toss.
The 24-year-old Wintz, playing his first game for his country at any level, had a steady opening over and showed little signs of nerves but Tendulkar was soon in stride pulling Esuan Crandon for a boundary in the 2nd over and the crowd went wild.
The left-handed Shikhar Dhawan pulled Wintz for 6 on the small ground and Tendulkar smashed him for 4. When Dhawan creamed Crandon through the covers for 4 and repeated the shot in the next over when Barnwell was introduced and the 160 which Sarwan said he wanted to restrict MI to before the toss seemed easily ‘gettable’ despite the slight drizzle.
Tendulkar stroked Crandon to the point boundary to post the 50 in the 6th over but seemed lucky when Dowlin at deep cover mis-judged the ball and allowed it to bounce in front of him off Barnwell’s bowling. Barnwell (4-0-33-0) impressed with clever variation and watched in dismay at Royston Crandon at long-off and Foo at mid-wicket dropped the Tendulkar off successive balls in the 9th over with the score on 61.
Tendulkar greeted Bishoo with two spanking boundaries but the leg-spin got one to spin and Tendulkar was stumped to leave MI on 82-1 in the 11th.
Bishoo removed Dhawan (38) and Saurabh Tiwari (0) in the space of a run and MI had slipped to 99-3 in 15 overs before Pollard, who was allowed to bat at number 3, struck Barnwell for two huge sixes in the 16th over to excite the crowd.
Pollard took 2 sixes and a four in Bishoo’s final over which cost 19 to spoil his figures while the 18th over from Wintz went for 12 as Pollard again cleared the ropes with ease.
Pollard’s 50 came up with a six off Esuan Crandon and took just 19 balls and he celebrated with 2 more sixes of the pacer in the penultimate over which cost 21 runs and all of a sudden Guyana were back on the ropes.
Duminy square drove Wintz to the boundary before scooping him to fine-leg for 4 and Pollard finished off the innings in spectacular fashion with a gigantic six off Wintz who was asked to bowl the final over.
With the asking rate for victory just below 10, Guyana just managed 37 from the first 6 ‘power play’ overs with Chattergoon, who was dropped by Zaheer Khan off his own bowling before he had scored already gone, caught at slip off Lasith Malinga.
Sarwan stroked Malinga to the cover boundary and flat-batted Dwayne Bravo back past his ankles for 4 but Dowlin again looked all at sea against the new ball at this level and was lucky that a bouncer from Malinga which crashed into his helmet as he was days late on the hook, did not do any serious damage.
Dowlin missed 3 ugly swipes at Bravo before lofting the pumped-up T&T all-rounder to long-off at 45-2 in the 7th over.
Sarwan drove Harbajan Singh elegantly to the cover boundary before cutting Bravo for another four and the handful of Guyanese fans in the ground must have been hopeful. Narsingh Deonarine was dropped off Pollard at 55-2 and then edged left-arm spinner Ali Murtaz for 4 and although Deonarine hit Pollard back past him for four in an over in which Sarwan smashed a six, the left-handed Test player never suggested that he was likely to dominate proceedings.
Sarwan just evaded a nasty bouncer from Bravo and a few words followed between the West Indian team mates causing the umpire to caution Bravo and it was clear that for the 2 Trinis on the field, seeing Guyana here instead of their home team was still a bitter pill to swallow.
Bravo soon removed Deonarine (27 from 23balls) at 91-3 in the 13th over and Sarwan pulled Harbajan to mid-wicket in the 16th over at 118-4 and Guyana’s run chase was all but over.
Barnwell, like he did in the first match, showed common sense and got going with a glorious cover-driven boundary off Malinga before crashing Harbajan for 2 fours, but with 72 required from the last five overs it was always going to be a difficult task.
With quick runs needed Royston Crandon was surprisingly sent ahead of Foo and struggled to get bat on ball although he struck Harbajan for 6 over square leg in his unbeaten 16 from 15 balls.
Barnwell (24 from 15 balls) eventually lofted Harbajan to long on at 137-5 in the 18th and Foo, who again never suggested that he was capable of exploding on these bouncy pitches like he did in the West Indies, edged a catch to the keeper for one off Khan leaving the Crandon brothers to get 37 from the final over from Malinga.
The Guyanese return to Johannesburg today and with no longer a chance of reaching the semi-finals, will hope to end their first International tournament with at least a consolation victory.
Yesterday showed that with proper exposure and longer preparation Guyana is capable of competing at this level and that like he did for T&T in last year’s competition in India, the presence of Pollard made a mighty difference to the result.
Scores: Mumbai Indians 184 for 4 (Pollard 72*, Tendulkar 48) beat Guyana 153 for 6 (Sarwan 46) by 31 runs.