Kieron Pollard‘s brutal 18-ball 54* against New South Wales during the Champions League T20 2009, sits at No. 2 in Wisden’s T20 innings of the 2000s, as picked by CricViz analyst Freddie Wilde.
Kieron Pollard 54* (18)
Trinidad and Tobago v New South Wales, CLT20 2009
Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad
October 16, 2009
With IPL contracts potentially up for grabs during the inaugural T20 Champions League many of the Trinidad and Tobago players had gone to extreme lengths to attract the attention of scouts. At 6 foot 5 inches and built like a heavyweight boxer, Pollard was already inconspicuous but he took to shaving ‘20/20’ into his hair in his bid to be even more recognisable.
On a heady and humid night in Hyderabad against a star-studded New South Wales team, Pollard let his bat do the talking. Ahead of the tournament Pollard had been putting pressure on his captain Darren Ganga to bat him higher up the order – Pollard burst onto the scene as a teenager batting at number three in the inaugural Stanford Twenty20 competition – but in the Champions League was being used in the finisher’s role.
Traditionally in limited overs cricket the finisher role was occupied by canny and versatile batsmen such as Javed Miandad and Michael Bevan. The arrival of T20 brought change to the job, placing a greater emphasis on boundary-hitting. But it wasn’t until Pollard played this innings in Hyderabad that things really began to change and the emphasis shifted decisively and irrevocably towards brutal power-hitting.
Trinidad and Tobago appeared down and out with 51 required off 24 balls – 12 of which would be bowled by Brett Lee – before an astonishing onslaught from Pollard turned the game on its head in a matter of minutes. Pollard was on 7 off 7 balls when he proceeded to score 47 off his following 11 deliveries, with all but two going to the boundary. Such was Pollard’s destruction – Moises Henriques was the primary target – that the chase was completed with a scarcely believable nine balls to spare, leaving Lee’s last over unbowled.
Pollard’s onslaught won him an IPL contract with Mumbai Indians, where has remained ever since, and it has changed the role of the finisher and what is expected of power-hitters forever.
Freddie Wilde is an analyst at CricViz and author of Wisden Book of the Year for 2020, Cricket 2.0: Inside The T20 Revolution