Mahendra Singh Dhoni turned back the clock to dismiss Kieron Pollard with his strategic field placement during Chennai Super Kings’ win over Mumbai Indians in IPL 2022 at the DY Patil Stadium on Thursday.
In what was almost a repeat passage of play between the sides from the 2010 IPL final at the same venue, Dhoni’s nous helped him bring out a unique straight fielder to dismiss Pollard at a crucial moment.
The 41-year-old asked for a rare straight-hit fielder (Shivam Dube) in the 17th over off the bowling of Maheesh Theekshana. Pollard (14) fell for the bait almost instantly as the off-spinner dished in a slower, short delivery which was lofted down the ground to Dube who held on to a straightforward catch at the boundary.
Dhoni’s field placement for Pollard before his dismissal on Thursday. – Hotstar Screengrab
Dhoni’s brilliance evoked memories of his interesting tussles against Pollard from the past where the Indian veteran emerged successful.
2010, all over again
In the 2010 IPL final, Dhoni attempted a similar ploy for the first time when Pollard and Ambati Rayudu was threatening to lead Mumbai to an improbable win. With 28 required off eight balls, Rayudu sacrificed his wicket in a run-out before Dhoni rolled up a straighter mid-off fielder (Matthew Hayden) for the bowler (Albie Morkel) against Pollard next ball.
Pollard instantly slammed a fuller delivery to Hayden who took an excellent catch at the edge of the circle as Mumbai fell short of the title by 22 runs.
Kieron Pollard hit a fuller delivery off Albie Morkel to the straight mid-off fielder set by MS Dhoni in the 2010 IPL final. – K.R. Deepak
2017, Dhoni foxes Pollard in another IPL final
In 2017 IPL final, Dhoni brought his ploy once again during his Rising Pune Supergiant days under captain Steve Smith against Mumbai.
Dhoni advised Smith to place the straight fielder in the 11th over of the Mumbai innings after Kieron Pollard walked out to bat and tonk Adam Zampa for a six first ball. Two deliveries later, Pollard lofted a flighted delivery over the bowler, only to have Manoj Tiwary take a simple catch before the sightscreen.
All in one motion. Kieron Pollard (7 off 3) holes out to Manoj Tiwary in front of the sightscreen in the 2017 IPL final. – SPORTZPICS
Pollard and the straight fielder muddle
Dhoni’s incredible strategy has also rubbed off on other teams who have used the straight-fielder tactic against Pollard to good effect.
MI vs SRH, IPL 2021: On his captaincy debut in the IPL, Sunrisers Hyderabad skipper Manish Pandey took a leaf out of Dhoni’s book. Pandey placed Jason Roy in the unique setting and Pollard ended up picking the fielder out against the bowling of Abhishek Sharma and was dismissed for 13 off 12 balls.
Pollard’s irresistible urge to take on the unique straight fielder failed once again during Mumbai’s final match of IPL 2021. – SPORTZPICS
South Africa vs West Indies, T20 World Cup 2021: The West Indies skipper was persisted with a straighter mid-off fielder by South Africa in their T20 World Cup group match. Pollard managed to escape the fielder in the 18th over to find a boundary off Dwaine Pretorius. However, he fell in Pretorius’ final over as he slammed a fuller delivery to a diving Rassie van der Dussen at straight mid-off. South Africa won the match by eight wickets.