Patrick Noone analyses Kieron Pollard’s incredible heist as TKR make it six from six in Port of Spain
Barbados Tridents are no strangers to Kieron Pollard. Across his career, he has scored at an astonishing 11.43 runs per over against them – no team against which he’s faced 100+ ball has he scored quicker. Already this season, his 41* in Tarouba had taken one game away from Jason Holder’s side and today he was the thorn in their side once again.
Coming to the crease at 62-5 in the 13th over, Trinbago Knight Riders already required a run rate of more than 12 runs per over to see them home. Pollard set about lowering that by hitting Hayden Walsh Jr. for six from the very ball he faced. Leg-spin is generally Pollard’s least favourite bowling type – he scores at 6.82 runs per over against it – but he was able to score rapidly against a diet of leg-spin from Walsh and Rashid Khan, as well as the left-arm orthodox spin of Mitchell Santner.
The first 18 balls he faced were all from the spin trio and Pollard took them for 42 runs, including six sixes. By the time Holder brought his seamers back for the last three overs, the required rate had increased to 13.67, despite Pollard’s brutal display of hitting. Raymon Reifer did well to concede just one against Pollard from his first four balls of the 18th over, but he failed to see out the over as the last two balls flew to the boundary for four.
Holder opted to bowl the penultimate over himself and was duly dispatched for six twice over long-on from his first two balls as Pollard was bending the game to his will. A final six would come off the first ball of the final over – Pollard’s ninth of the innings – before he was run out desperately trying to run two so as to keep the strike.
He had got his side to within a whisker, but it looked at that stage as though TKR were going to fall short with eight needed off four and numbers 9 and 10 at the crease. A full toss from Reifer that Khary Pierre launched over point for six soon changed that and the Knight Riders claimed the win with a ball to spare.
It was one of the great T20 heists from Pollard, though what made it so thrilling is that it never seemed impossible that he would be able to pull it off. Even as the rate soared above two runs per ball, the Tridents knew that while he was there – attacking all but four of the 28 balls he faced – they were not out of the woods. By the time they dismissed him, the damage had been done.
This was a chastening defeat for the Tridents who did a lot right across the 39.5 overs, from posting a reasonable total on a slow pitch for the third game in succession, to bowling aggressively in the Powerplay to dent the TKR chase with early wickets. The loss leaves them third in the table which hardly disastrous but their next three matches – against St Lucia Zouks and a double header against Guyana Amazon Warriors – are now crucial for their chances of progressing.
For TKR, they must feel invincible after a win like that. They have been equal to absolutely everything thrown at them so far this season and got over the line in this one despite fielding neither Dwayne Bravo nor Sunil Narine. The other five teams in this league will be wondering what on earth you have to do to beat them.
Patrick Noone is a CricViz analyst