While one Trinidad and Tobago player helped his team rise back to the top of the Indian Premier League (IPL), another watched his team be unceremoniously dumped out of the competition by the table proppers.
Neither Kieron Pollard nor Sunil Narine featured prominently for Mumbai Indians or Kolkata Knight Riders respectively. But Mumbai defended a competitive 170 for four against Rajasthan Royals, even though Pollard was spectacularly run out by fellow T&T all-rounder Kevon Cooper for 17 (one four, one six).
Mumbai won by 14 runs to seal a playoff spot and 2013 Champions League T20 berth.
Narine, meanwhile, was relatively inexpensive against Pune Warriors, but was unmoved in the wickets column where it really counted, and his team later fell eight runs short of their victory target of 171. With Kolkata out of the playoffs, it opens the door for the spiky-haired mystery spinner to return to T&T’s squad for the Champions League in October.
At Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium, Pollard and company extended their perfect home record this season after being sent in to bat.
Dwayne Smith and the injured Sachin Tendulkar sat out the match in favour of Australian Glenn Maxwell and Aditya Tare, who made good use of their chances.
Maxwell was out for 23 (17 balls), adjudged lbw after launching a quick start, while Tare’s topscore of 59 (37 balls; eight fours, one six) helped Mumbai reach their 100 in the 11th over.
Dinesh Karthik also contributed 21 and skipper Rohit Sharma, 14 ahead of Pollard’s arrival.
Pollard started off well with a four and a straight six, but Cooper ended his innings. After bogging down the big-hitting all-round with a concoction of wider, slower balls, Cooper induced a top edge from Pollard at short cover.
It was just out of his reach, but the bowler still removed his opponent, picking up the ball with one fell swoop and whipping around to throw down the stumps with no time to aim. Pollard was caught short of the crease for the first time in his four-year IPL career, and Mumbai were 144 for five. They lost a few more wickets, but 166 was a competitive total.
Rajasthan were then up against it early on, reduced to 28 for four in 5.4 overs. They lost wickets at regular intervals, and the total proved just a bit beyond them.
Kolkata’s match was a bit closer, as they needed 18 runs off the final over to pull off victory, after a seething Yusuf Pathan was out in the 18th over obstructing the field, having really fired with the bat for the first time this tournament with 72 off 44 balls (eight fours, two sixes).
Ryan ten Doeschate added a lively 42 (30 balls, four fours, one six) in a 98-run partherhsip with Pathan that rescued Kolkata from 29 for three.
Pathan watched on, helpless as Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Angel Mathews bowled two tight overs to close things off.
Pune got to 171 thanks to top order contributions from Robin Uthappa (25), Aaron Finch (48; 32 balls, two fours, three sixes),
Yuvrah Singh (30, 20 balls) and an impressive 66 from topscorer Manish Pandey, who hit eight fours and one six in 47 balls. Narine’s returns were no wickets for 26 runs in four overs.
Pune Warriors 170-4 in 20 overs
(Manish Pandey 66, Aaron Finch 48, Yuvraj Singh 30, Robin Uthappa 25; Sachithra Senanayake 1/22, Laskhmipathy Balaji 1/41, Jacques Kallis 1/48) vs Kolkata Knight Riders 163-7 in 20 overs (Yusuf Pathan 72, Ryan ten Doeschate 42; Wayne Parnell 2/34, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 1/22, Ishwar Pandey 1/17)
Pune Warriors won by seven runs
Mumbai Indians 166-8 in 20 overs (Aditya Tare 59, Glenn Maxwell 23, Dinesh Karthik 21; James Faulkner 2/32, Shane Watson 2/30, Kevon Cooper 1/27, Pravin Tambe 1/38) vs Rajasthan Royals 152-7 in 20 overs (Brad Hodge 39, Stuart Binny 37 not out, Shane Watson 19; Dhawal Kulkarni 2/21, Mitchell Johnson 2/23, Harbhajan Singh 1/29, Lasith Malinga 1/35, Pragyan Ojha 1/36)
Mumbai won by 14 runs