Mighty Pollard pummels Middlesex
West Indies Twenty20 star Kieron Pollard marked his Somerset Sabres debut by single-handedly destroying Middlesex Panthers under the lights at Lord’s.
Pollard smashed seven sixes and as many fours in an unbeaten 89 off 45 balls, having already taken 3-26 with his medium pace, as Somerset chased down Middlesex’s 155 for six to win the Friends Provident t20 clash by five wickets with 13 balls to spare.
It proved another unfortunate night for Australia legend Adam Gilchrist, who fell to the 13th ball of the match - for a seven-ball duck - after Middlesex won the toss and elected to bat first. He had made just two on his debut against Sussex last Thursday.
A tricky surface that assisted former Middlesex favourite Murali Kartik, in particular, made shot-making tough early on - as Gilchrist found. In aiming to push a drive straight past bowler Ben Phillips, he miscued to give a return catch.
A useful left-hand/right-hand partnership between Scott Newman and Neil Dexter took the hosts through to 46, 20 of which came in one over of medium pace from Zander de Bruyn.
Dexter, who clubbed two fours and three sixes in his cameo 29, went in the ninth over to a looping catch at short mid-on by Marcus Trescothick off former Middlesex all-rounder Peter Trego.
Newman departed for 26 two overs later when he drove on the up to Jos Buttler patrolling the extra cover boundary, bringing together Owais Shah and Eoin Morgan for an enterprising stand of 53.
Morgan raised the home 100 with a six into the Tavern Stand but Shah, having helped take 12 from Kartik’s final over on his way to 24, clipped to deep midwicket.
In the quest for late runs, Gareth Berg perished making room to an Alfonso Thomas yorker and Dawid Malan skied to mid-on off Pollard, leaving Morgan to nudge the scoring rate above seven with an impish unbeaten 48 from 30 balls.
The Sabres made a dismal start to their pursuit when England’s World Twenty20 winner Craig Kieswetter top-edged a towering catch to Gilchrist, before Marcus Trescothick was run out after making 20 off 15 deliveries.
James Hildreth had turned a ball from Tim Murtagh toward midwicket and set off for a single but Trescothick was slow to respond, allowing Murtagh to follow through and throw down the stumps.
Buttler stepped across to off aiming an audacious flick over short fine-leg off Pedro Collins, only to have his stumps rearranged.
When Hildreth, cutting hard at Murtagh, picked out Tom Smith at backward point to leave Somerset wobbling on 31 for four, Middlesex scented victory, but Pollard had other ideas.
Though Trego was run out for 16, the all-rounder sacrificing his wicket when called through for a suicidal leg-bye to midwicket, Trinidad and Tobago star Pollard ensured the Sabres coasted to their first win of the campaign in style.