Mumbai Indians beaten again despite Pollard’s blitz

West Indian all-rounder scores 78 but Sunrisers Hyderabad win by 15 runs. Ahmed Rizvi reports from Dubai.

David Warner, left, scored a valiant 65 for Sunrisers Hyderabad in Dubai on Wednesday. Pawan Singh / The National
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DUBAI // The Mumbai Indians are hoping for a turn of fortunes on their home turf at the Wankhede Stadium as they return to India without a single point from five Indian Premier League (IPL) games.

The defending champions and winners of the Champions League Twenty20 last year, Mumbai suffered their fifth consecutive loss in the UAE-leg of the IPL, falling short by 15 runs as they chased the Sunrisers Hyderabad’s 172 for five on Wednesday night, despite Kieron Pollard’s bludgeoning 48-ball 78, which included six huge sixes.

“We are going back to Mumbai and we are bottom of the table, and we haven’t played good enough cricket,” said John Wright, the Mumbai Indians coach. “Every game for us now is like a Cup tie. That’s how I see it.

“We were in the penthouse last year for two competitions and we have been walking down the stairs for the last two weeks. So we’d like to change the direction we are going and go upwards.”

Given Mumbai’s batting performance in the last four matches, the target was always going to be a formidable one. They have scored 125 for six, 141 for seven, 115 for nine and 122 for seven in those four innings and to finish the UAE-leg of the tournament with a win, they needed a much-improved batting performance.

In the four earlier matches, only five of their batsmen had managed to cross 30 and the top individual score for the team was captain Rohit Sharma’s 50 against the Chennai Super Kings. On Wednesday night, he got one before Bhuvneshwar Kumar scattered his stumps in the second over.

It was not the start Mumbai were looking for, but they have struggled at the top right through. Michael Hussey had opened the innings in three of their first four games, but after scores of three, 16, one and 10, he found himself out of the XI on Wednesday night.

Instead, Ben Dunk was given a chance and he failed to make the most of. Watching Sharma and Corey Anderson (1) depart in quick succession, the Australian made his way to a 17-ball 20 before Darren Sammy got past his defence.

That was the third Mumbai wicket to fall, and the score was just 31. The Sunrisers had lost their third wicket in the 19th over and they had 149 on the board by then, thanks to a 111-run partnership between David Warner (65 off 51 balls) and Lokesh Rahul (46 off 40 balls).

Like Warner and Rahul in the first innings, Ambati Rayudu (35 off 27 balls) and Pollard helped the Mumbai Indians recover from the early setbacks with a 77-run partnership for the fourth wicket, and later the West Indian waged a lone battle.

Pollard smashed leg-spinner Amit Mishra for three consecutive sixes and a boundary in the 27-run 17th over to bring down the equation to 31 off 18. Dale Steyn, however, brought things under control in the next over, giving away only four runs and the Mumbai Indians started the final over needing 20.

With Pollard on strike, that seemed possible but Irfan Pathan somehow managed to get an inside edge off his bludgeoning willow onto the stumps. And that was the end of the contest.

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