Every cricket fan out there must be playing or have played cricket with their area friends. The fans of the game have also been through the local tournaments, friendly competitions, practice evenings. Every such group will have a power hitter or finisher like Pollard. The group relies on that player. Whenever the gang gasps in a crucial game, they know their go-to player will save the day for them, and he/she ends up winning the expectations on most days.
Pollard brings back these personal memories. I have played and been part of a local team that had match winners.
Is it right to term Pollard as a ‘Dream player?’
Not writing this to get the attention of the DC fans. Whenever MI is in trouble, watching Pollard walk-in only reminds me of Commissioner Gordon using the bat signal to summon the superhero. Here it is not Batman but a man with the bat who can give the same chills to his opponents just as the Batman. I would recommend you hereafter imagine ‘The dark Knight’ theme when Polly walks out and bats. I can assure you, he will not disappoint you on most days.
It was IPL 2017 edition. A match between MI and RCB. Batting first, RCB managed 142/5 in 20 overs. What was supposed to be an easy peasy chase took an unexpected turn because of Samuel Badree. He took a hat-trick in that game, and MI was reeling at 7/4.
I remember thinking that I will remember this game for Samuel’s hat-trick. Oh boy, how wrong I was!
Just when everybody was writing off MI in that match, Pollard came in with other plans!
Polly assessed the slowish wicket and took his time to settle. He reached his 50 off 41 balls with a massive six. There on it was carnage. Pollard scored 70 (47) balls and ensured MI’s victory.
It was IPL 2013 edition. A match between MI and SRH. Electing to bat first, Sunrisers Hyderabad put up a solid total of 178/3 in their 20. In reply, Mumbai Indians were struggling at 99/3 with 78 runs to get from 32 balls. When everybody was looking at the word impossible, they missed noticing Pollard, and the rest is history. Pollard remained unbeaten with 66(27)* and took MI over the line.
Several such games that Pollard has gifted MI. He has been good with the ball and an absolute show stealer when fielding. I think it’s safe to dedicate this to a dream player like Polly, “He’s a silent guardian, a watchful protector. A dark knight.”
The hero we have talked about has been a villain to other teams. He becomes a merciless villain against his side’s arch-rivals, the Chennai Super Kings. MI and CSK have met 4 times in a final. Out of which, Pollard had a role to play in crushing Chennai’s trophy dream thrice.
None of the Chennai fans can forget the painful 1-run loss in the 2019 Final. De Kock was done, RO never took off, and SKY was gloomy. But Pollard cannot fail against CSK. His quick-fire 41(25)* took MI to a decent score. You all know what happened later. You must understand it is difficult to write about it even, being a CSK fan. It’s a never-healing scar, that’s all I can say.
It was IPL 2015 edition’s final game; MI batted first. RO and Simmons were toying with CSK’s bowlers. Somehow, CSK managed to send them both to the pavilion before the 13th over. Before CSK could breathe out a sigh in relief, Pollard pulled off yet another show. He scored 36 of only 18 balls with a 200 strike rate, ensured MI got to 200+ so that CSK could never even think of clinching the trophy.
It was IPL 2013 edition’s final. Again MI batted first. This time, there was a batting collapse. MI batting order and their trophy dream looked like a wreck only until Pollard went berserk. Another unbeaten knock 60(32)*
Though Pollard himself says that every MI’s final victory is a team effort. But when I look back at IPL as a CSK fan, all I could see is Pollard stealing CSK’s chance of winning the cup every freaking time. Not complaining but complementing one of the greatest T20 players!
The long story of the rivalry between MI vs. CSK, in short, is Pollard has been a nightmare for Chennai, season after season. Of course, he is one for other franchises as well.
As closing notes, I wish to recollect few exciting moments that involved Pollard.
IPL 2019 Final, Bravo bowls a wide. Umpire does not call it a wide. On the very next ball, Pollard takes strike well away from the stumps. Lol!
The story between Bravo and Pollard goes back to the IPL 2012 eliminator game. Looks like, before the game, Polly sent a text to Bravo, “Pack your bags, and go back home.” In reply, Bravo picked Pollard’s wicket and gave him a send-off indicating to board the plane to West Indies. IPL would be boring without these banters!
I can only wish these cute banters to be alive in seasons to come with a mega auction ahead.
Coming back to Pollard, he has become the big shoes of MI that any successor would feel difficult to fill in. Clearly, MI has mined a gold that is Pollard. What a player, an absolute IPL legend!