Durban:Kieron Pollard produced a scintillating 72 off 30 balls as Mumbai Indians defeated an improved Guyana by 31 runs to keep their semifinal hopes alive in the Champions League Twenty20 cricket tournament here on Thursday.
Pushed up the order, Pollard hammered Guyana bowlers for nine sixes and a boundary to pile up a mammoth 85 runs off the last five overs and muscle Mumbai to 184 for four at the Kingsmead here after they were down at 99 for three at one stage.
Pollard's task was made easy by the 82-run opening stand between Sachin Tendulkar (48 off 39) and Shikhar Dhawan (39 off 37).
Although Tendulkar was not at his elegant best, he and Dhawan ensured that Mumbai were off to a decent start but their innings, which was crawling along at one stage, got fillip only after Pollard's entry in the late overs.
Towards the end, JP Duminy also came up with a vital six-ball 14-run contribution to help his side's cause.
For Guyana, leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo was the pick of the bowlers, picking up three wickets for 34 runs.
Chasing the challenging target, a star-less Guyana struggled from the onset and could only manage 153 for six in their 20 overs.
With the convincing win in their must-win Group B match, Mumbai has imbibed some life back in their Champions League campaign, which was devastated by defeats in the opening two matches against Highveld Lions and South Australia Redbacks.
Guyana, on the other hand, faces the ignominy of early exit with two defeats from as many outings.
Guyana's had a horrible start to their run chase as they lost Sewnarine Chattergoon early when he gave a simple catching practice to Duminy at first slip off Lasith Malinga.
Struggling to find the fence, Tim Dowlin was the next to depart after giving a skier to Saurabh Tiwary off Dwayne Bravo.
Even though Guyana's captain and most-experienced batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan produced some resistance with a 38-ball 46, the West Indian outfit was never in the reckoning.
And once Sarwan fell to Harbhajan Singh in the 15th over caught by Malinga, victory was just a formality for Mumbai.
Narsingh Deonarine (27) and Christopher Barnwell (25) also chipped with useful contribution for Guyana.
Bravo and Harbhajan scalped two wickets apiece for Mumbai, giving away 18 and 32 runs respectively.
Earlier, opting to bat, Tendulkar and Shikhar Dhwan went about their business out with a purpose from the word go. Tendulkar made his intentions clear with a smashing pull to the midwicket boundary of Crandon in the second over.
Dhawan, who so far had a forgetable outing in the tournament, got off the blocks with a huge six over square-leg boundary off Paul Wintz and then Tendulkar finished off third over with another pulll to the midwicket fence.
After the initial burst, even though the duo managed to rotate the strike with ones and twos, they found boundaries hard to come by.
Desperate to broke the shackles, Tendulkar was handed two lives by the butterfingered Guyana fielders as the champion bastman went for big hits in the ninth over.
Crandon was the guilty fielder on the first occasion as he made a mess of a regulation running catch at long-on off Christopher Barnwell. If that was not enough, in the very next ball Tendulkar was handed another life when a running Jonathan Foo dropped a difficult one at deep square leg.
Tendulkar was utlisised those chances to perfection with back-to-back boundaries off Bishoo in the first two deliveries of the 11th over before falling to the leggie two balls later.
The Mumbai skipper's scratchy innings finally ended when Bishoo foxed him with a delivery that spun away and wicketkeeper Derwin Christian did the rest.
Bishoo turned out to be the star bowler for Guyana, striking twice in the 15th over as Mumbai batters went for big shots.
He had Dhawan in the second ball of the 15th over, caught by Crandon and then three deliveries later got the wicket of Saurabh Tiwary, who was holed out at deep midwicket by Barnwell.
But just when it seemed Mumbai was losing their way, came in Pollard, who single-handedly changed the complexion of the match with his power hitting.
Brutal Pollard used his long handle to great effect and clobbered Barnwell for two sixes and then destroyed the figures of young Bishoo, picking up 19 runs of his final over with two huge hits over the fence and a boundary.
The imposing West Indian brought up his fifty in style, casually lofting a Crandon delivery over the long on boundary.
Not a single Guyana bowler was spared by Pollard as he went about his business with utmost ease. He finished off the innings in style, dispatching Wintz over long-off.