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RESULT: Mumbai Indians beat Chennai Super Kings by nine runs

Kieron Pollard stood in Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s way and stopped the Chennai Super Kings captain from scripting a sensational turnaround at the M Chidambaram Stadium on Saturday.

Pollard had done all the hardwork earlier to pull Mumbai Indians out from a hopeless situation (83-6) and ensured a decent total of 148-6 on the board.

The West Indian all-rounder creamed an unbeaten 57 off 38 balls, smashing four fours and five sixes and also featured in a record-breaking seventh wicket stand of 65 runs with Harbhajan Singh (21 not out).

Chasing 149, Chennai failed to get going and were down for the count at 66-5 in the 13th over when Dhoni stepped in and began turning the tide.

Though he kept losing partners, Dhoni kept Chennai in the hunt with a calculated assault of 51 runs from 26 balls including five fours and three sixes. He struck two fours and a six off a Pollard over to get Chennai closer to the target.

Needing 12 from the final over bowled by Munaf Patel, Dhoni swung the first ball and it appeared to sail over the mid-wicket fence until the big burly frame of Pollard popped up and rose high to pluck a stunning catch on the edge of the ropes. Dhoni shook his head in disbelief and it was game over for Chennai.

A relieved Pollard said: “Had I dropped that catch, it would have been match gone. “I like to contribute in all the departments of the game. I am not a finished product as a bat, but I am trying to do what the team situation requires,” he added.

It was the second close game that Mumbai Indians were involved in following their two-run loss to Royal Challengers Bangalore on Thursday.

“The last two games have both gone down the wire and I am happy that we have won this one,” said captain Ricky Ponting. “That partnership between Pollard and Harbhajan gave us a total that we could defend. “Our bowlers did a great job, specially the spinners in the middle overs.”

Earlier, the Mumbai Indians’ decision to bat first after winning the toss backfired as Dirk Nannes trapped Sachin Tendulkar for a duck in the very first over.

IPL debutant, Ankit Rajpoot then had Ponting (6) caught at slip attempting a pull leaving the visitors at 18 for 2 in 3.2 overs. Dinesh Karthik (37) and Rohit Sharma (8) were both given an early reprieve, but Sharma failed to capitalise on it and fell nicking Bravo to the wicket-keeper.

Bravo struck again removing Karthik leg before in his next over, leaving MI stuttering at 59-4. The slide continued as Ben Laughin then had Ambati Rayudu (7) caught at third man.

Dwayne Smith joined the procession as he holed out off Ashwin before Pollard and Harbhajan stemmed the rot with a fantastic parntership.


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