Stephen Fleming, the Chennai Super Kings head coach, has come out to explain the field which MS Dhoni set for Kieron Pollard when the Mumbai Indians required 2 runs off the last ball, bowled by Lungi Ngidi on Saturday night in Delhi.
Chasing 219, Mumbai had brought down the equation to just a couple of runs from the last, courtesy of a blinder from Kieron Pollard. However, the CSK skipper opted for a strange and surprising field setting: on the leg side all the fielders were placed at the boundary line, and nobody was stationed inside the circle.
Stephen Fleming explains that as Pollard was in such good touch, having already hit 6 fours and 8 sixes in his knock, they thought the batter would once again go for the big hit; or maybe hit the stumps – as in the 2019 IPL final, where Lasith Malinga bowled a slow yorker to dismiss Shardul Thakur lbw on the last ball when 2 runs were required.
However, the field worked in Kieron Pollard and Mumbai’s favor as the batter jammed a yorker – for once Ngidi hit his length right after bowling three consecutive full tosses – down to long-on, where the fielder ran to his right; by the time he sends the throw back, Dhawal Kulkarni had returned to complete the couple and seal the win.
“Not really (if he was surprised to see the field). Pollard is such a good timer of the ball that you never know what he’s going to do. Got so much to win, to be honest, we were looking for something like the stumps being hit or like the result we had when we got beaten in the (2019) final. So we’ll go have a look over that. I think there are a lot of other instances that we’ll have a look at rather than just the last ball,” said Fleming at the post-match conference.
That’s the pressure you need to take as an individual: Kieron Pollard
Speaking about his innings, at the post-match ceremony, where he was awarded the Man of the Match prize, Kieron Pollard explained how he got going with 3 sixes of Ravindra Jadeja’s over, and then didn’t look back. He also got a reprieve in the 18th over when his catch was dropped by Faf du Plessis, of all people, at long-on.
Rohit Sharma’s side now has registered back-to-back wins, with 4 in total from 7 games. They will look to continue with the momentum in their next encounter versus the Sunrisers Hyderabad on Tuesday.
“They had four overs of spin to bowl on a small ground, I saw if I could hit a couple of sixes and then try to take it from there. Only got two overs against spin and I had to maximise that over against Jadeja. If we stay in for a period of time, couple of sixes were always going to keep us in the game. You have to evolve, lot of practice goes into it. That has helped me tremendously.
“That’s the pressure you need to take as an individual. We have done this time and time again in terms of practice. It’s just a matter of keeping calm and try to execute. We got over the line today, I was fortunate Faf gave me that chance. Overall, a good wicket. Two wins here, hopefully that gives us the momentum going into the middle phase and the back end of the tournament,” Kieron Pollard elucidated.