Royal Challengers Bangalore come into their game against Sunrisers Hyderabad (Thursday, 6.30pm) on the back of two wins and it’s no surprise to see that two of their key batsman are finding their form at this crucial stage.
While Virat Kohli has scored 70 and 48no against Delhi Daredevils and Kings XI Punjab, AB de Villiers was not even needed in the team’s latest outing as they cruised to a 10-wicket win against Kings XI.
His 72no against Delhi was his fourth half-century in the IPL this season and with plenty of big hitters on both sides, the South African should be a dead certain for your fantasy team.
The batsman has an impressive record against Sunrisers’ bowlers, scoring 380 runs in his 219 balls with an average of 42.2 and strike-rate of 173.5.
Another option is to have Shikhar Dhawan. The Indian opener has been sensational for the 2016 winners and two successive half-centuries have made him the second-highest scorer in the tournament. If his recent record is anything to go by, he could well add to that tally. At the Chinnaswamy Stadium, he’s scored 246 runs in eight T20 innings with an average of 49.2.
It had been an IPL season to forget for Kieron Pollard before a change in fortunes on Wednesday as Mumbai Indians edged past Kings XI Punjab by three runs to keep their playoff hopes well and truly alive.
A run of just 76 runs combined in six previous innings had seen the West Indies all-rounder dropped from the playing XI after an incredible run of 33 consecutive starts.
Hence, when Pollard was reinstated to the squad in place of JP Duminy ahead of Wednesday’s crunch clash, the pressure on the 31-year-old’s massive shoulders was humungous.
Pollard’s time of reckoning would come soon into the match as Mumbai Indians were reduced to 71-4 by the visitors in a must-win clash. Taking his time to get settled, the West Indies star finally found some form as he smashed a 22-ball 50 which helped the side post 186-8 ultimately in their 20 overs.
That’s Kieron Pollard for everyone!! Steps up just at the right time when needed! #MIvKXIP— Sameer Allana (@HitmanCricket) May 16, 2018
It turned out to be an extremely vital contribution ultimately as Jasprit Bumrah inspired Mumbai to a narrow three-run win.
Speaking at the post-match ceremony, the relief of having finally come good was evident on Pollard’s face.
“First of all I want to thank god. I’ve seen, I’ve heard – it brought out something different. Doubt was never there. Thank god for that opportunity. Most importantly, we came out and we live to fight another day. Never easy in T20 cricket – there are a lot of different things. Thanks to god for the victory. We’ll go to Delhi and see what can come of that,” the Mumbai stalwart said.
Mumbai skipper Rohit Sharma was all praise for the Trinidad-born man’s performance in the post-match presentation.
“Pollard has always been a match winner for us. Leaving him out was always a tough decision. We thought if JP Duminy is not getting opportunities down the order and that’s why we brought him back. He was very upset when he was left out and I was looking for that one opportunity to bring him back. He always stands up in the pressure situations,” Rohit said about Pollard.
With the West Indies man back in form, Mumbai Indians will be bullish about their chances of sealing a playoff spot.
Having been made to bat first, Mumbai put 186-8 on the board before Jasprit Bumrah’s sensational spell took them over the finish line despite a sublime knock of 94 from KL Rahul.
TYE’S BRILLIANT SPELL ROCKS MUMBAI IN POWERPLAY
Andrew Tye was the leading wicket-taker in the IPL by some distance coming into the match and he made sure that gap only widened after his latest performance.
Making excellent use of his lethal knuckle ball, Tye cleaned up Evin Lewis’ stumps with his very first delivery after coming on to bowl the fourth over of the powerplay. Conceding only two runs in that over, the Aussie bowled an even better subsequent one.
He dismissed Ishan Kishan with another knuckle-ball before having Suryakumar Yadav caught behind with his very next delivery. His two overs in the powerplay went for only five runs and fetched three wickets. Tye bowled two more excellent overs at the death while picking up one more wicket in the form of Hardik Pandya to finish with figures of 4-16.
Andrew Tye last 4 innings— Broken Cricket (@BrokenCricket) May 16, 2018
He also becomes the fastest to take four 4+ wickets in an IPL innings!
POLLARD FINALLY ARRIVES TO THE PARTY
Eyebrows were raised when Mumbai dropped JP Duminy to reinstate Kieron Pollard in the line-up after the West Indies all-rounder had endured a horrendous individual campaign.
In the end, Pollard ended up repaying the faith bestowed upon him by Rohit Sharma with an explosive half-century. Mumbai had been reduced to 71-4 when Pollard walked in and the 31-year-old rolled back the clock as he inflicted some lusty blows to the Kings XI bowlers.
He notched up a 22-ball half-century with the help of five boundaries and three sixes before being dismissed by Ashwin. His entertaining cameo though had given the hosts a fighting chance by the time it came to an end.
Kieron Pollard coming from brink of death, getting dropped for Duminy, getting abused by fans then coming back and scoring runs.— Rajat (@EdinAzzaa) May 16, 2018
BUMRAH THWARTS KL RAHUL AND PUNJAB
In-form KL Rahul looked like he was single-handedly going to drag Kings XI to victory with his sixth half-century in this year’s IPL. His 111-run partnership for the second wicket with Aaron Finch looked to be enough to ensure a Punjab victory but then Jasprit Bumrah turned it around with an exceptional spell of death bowling.
After an economical first over in the powerplay, Bumrah returned at the death like a man possessed as he removed Finch and Marcus Stoinis in the same over. In the last over of his brilliant spell, the Mumbai pacer had Rahul caught at long-off for 94 to deliver the final nail in the coffin for Punjab.
Ultimately, Bumrah’s spell of 3-15 in four overs was the difference between the two sides as Mumbai kept their playoff hopes alive.
Andre Tye: 4/16— Broken Cricket (@BrokenCricket) May 16, 2018
Jasprit Bumrah: 3/15
They recorded this where both the team have scored 170+...