Less than a day after captaining West Indies in a T20 international in India, Kieron Pollard was back destroying bowlers in the Abu Dhabi T10.
The Jamaican’s 45 not out in 22 balls saw Deccan Gladiators to a five-wicket win over Karnataka Tuskers.
Despite requiring 73 off 31 balls at one point, they ended up easing to the target of 112 with nine balls to spare. Pollard’s assault included taking 30 off a single over from Sandeep Lamichhane, the young leg-spinner from Nepal.
It was astonishing how fresh Pollard was, given he had been playing for West Indies in a 20-over match against Afghanistan 2,700kms away in northern India the previous night.
He had travelled in style, at least. The West Indian contingent were brought to the UAE capital on a private jet at the conclusion of their series in Lucknow.
Pollard’s arrival is a significant pick-me-up for the Gladiators as the tournament reaches its business stages, according to Shane Watson, the captain.
“We are very fortunate to have Kieron coming into our team,” Watson said.
“There is no doubt that, from a psychological point of view it is good for our team to know we have him now through to the back end of the tournament.
“The way he bats in general, within an over he can take the game away from the opposition.
"I am very glad for our sake we have Kieron on our team, and don’t have to play against him.
"Playing all around the world, you have to be accustomed to [travelling at short notice].
"He did brilliantly well. He is great in the field, bowled a crucial over as well, and did what he did with the bat.”
The onslaught of Pollard and Bhanuka Rajapakse, who hit 27 in seven balls, was a stark reality check for Lamichhane and UAE's Ahmed Raza.
The spin duo had been two of the outstanding performers for the Tuskers in the tournament to date, but Hashim Amla, their captain, reckons they will be better following this experience.
“This is great learning for them,” Amla said.
“Sandeep may be young, but he is a very experienced short-format bowler.
"He always has a smile on his face and he did have a smile on his face in the changing room just now.
“It is just the nature of the game. We all thought he bowled pretty well, it was just that Pollard had his day.
“If you look at the Tuskers team, we have a lot of young guys, plus some experienced players from around the world.
“This is a fantastic learning experience going ahead to future competitions, and they can only get better from this.”
In the final match of the day, Kusal Perera made 43 in 18 balls for Delhi Bulls but it was only enough to set up a tie against Bangla Tigers after a thrilling finale.
It was the second halved match out of the 12 that have been staged so far in the competition. The Bulls needed three off the last ball to complete a successful chase of 109 needed to win. Eoin Morgan, the Bulls captain, managed just two, though, as the scores finished level.