Mumbai Indians' (MI) power-hitter Kieron Pollard said after his blistering unbeaten 87-run knock against Chennai Super Kings (CSK) that building the match as the "El Clasico" of the Indian Premier League (IPL) motivated the players to give it their best shot.
The West Indian, who is 10 days shy of turning 34, played a memorable innings, smashing eight sixes and six boundaries to guide the defending champions to a four-wicket win against the arch-rivals at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in New Delhi on Saturday.
"CSK, they have class players in the side. We build this match as the El Clasico of IPL. And, when you have international guys, such as (MS) Dhoni, (Dwayne) Bravo and (Faf) du Plessis, with so much experience, we want to be able to come out and perform to the best of our ability in these sort of matches," said Pollard, who has been MI's mainstay for more than a decade.
The West Indian allrounder said the secret behind his longevity, and performing "day-in and day-out" for his franchise was that, "they (MI) believe in you after so many years and you want to give back by performing for them again and again".
"Over a period of time, you are comfortable with a franchise, they believe in you after so many years and you just want to continue, give it your best for them. So, for me, it's a matter of coming in day in and day out and trying to evolve as a cricketer and try to do my best for them," said Pollard, who overshadowed the blistering innings of CSK's Ambati Rayudu (72 not out).
On how he built his innings, given that the team was chasing a massive 218 set by CSK on Saturday, Pollard said, "The equation is always on the board (mind), the run-rate is there for you to see. You pick those bowlers who you are more comfortable hitting, and try to manoeuvre the best bowler of the day.
"There are a lot of thing on the mind chasing big totals, but you have to keep calm in tough situations and try to make contact with the balls. We keep practicing these situations and scenarios and when you get the chance, you try and execute it," he said.