Chennai: Having got an opportunity to bat for a longer period after Mumbai Indians lost four quick wickets against Chennai Super Kings, West Indian Kieron Pollard proved his mettle but he refuted claims of making a statement.
Time and again Mumbai Indians have faced criticism for not promoting Pollard higher than the No.6, which leaves the hard-hitting batsman very little time to make an impact.
But in MI's Indian Premier League tie on Saturday night against CSK, the Caribbean T20 specialist showed what he could do if given the opportunity to plan and pace his innings.
"The management staff picks the team for certain situations. As a team player I have to back myself to the situation thrown at me. I take the opportunity as it comes," Pollard said after MI beat CSK by nine runs.
After MI lost their top four batsmen, including Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting, Pollard was at the crease as early as in the ninth over. He took the rare opportunity to prove his worth as a match-winner with the bat, hitting an unbeaten 57 off 38 balls.
Even as other batsmen found it difficult to bat on the Chennai wicket, Pollard said it was a good track.
"The situation was demanding that I should stay on and bat till the end, which I tried to do. To me the wicket was good but it tended to slow down at times."
Pollard also took a sensational catch under pressure when CSK skipper MS Dhoni was running away with the match for his side.
With 12 runs to win from the last over, Dhoni hit Munaf Patel powerfully but ended up being caught by an air-borne Pollard at the boundary ropes. The stunning catch sealed Chennai's fate.
When asked if Lasith Malinga's presence in the team would have made the job easier for Mumbai, Pollard said although the Sri Lankan was missed, Mitchell Johnson bowled well.
"Mitchell bowled pretty well. Whatever we do, we do as a team. When he (Malinga) comes back, he is surely going to help us in the team. But, at this point in time, Mitchell had done a very good job."