West Indies all-rounder and limited-overs skipper Kieron Pollard, who announced his retirement from international cricket on Wednesday ending his 15-year long career, was one of the most devastating batters in limited-overs cricket, especially T20s.
The 34-year-old became the first player to represent West Indies in over 100 T20I matches, making his ODI debut in April 2007 against South Africa and his T20I debut the following year against Australia in Bridgetown. Overall, he played 123 ODIs and 101 T20Is for West Indies.
Pollard played some match-defining knocks, which left his legion of fans amazed at the kind of brutal power he could pack in his strokes.
Here are some of the legendary Caribbean cricketer’s best performances in West Indies colours:
1. March 11, 2011: Pollard arrives on the big stage — 94 from just 55 balls against Ireland at 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup.
While Pollard made his ODI debut as a teenager at the 2007 World Cup on home soil, it wasn’t until some four years later that the right-hander made his mark on a big international event, according to data compiled by the International Cricket Council (ICC). And he did it in style as he combined with fellow hard-hotter Devon Smith (107 from 133 balls) to demolish an Irish bowling line-up with a super knock of 94 from just 55 deliveries in Mohali. Pollard came to the crease at 130/3 after 32 overs, but he and Smith put on 88 in quick time to help West Indies post a big score in the group clash. Pollard was eventually dismissed in the penultimate over, but not before he had made his mark on the biggest stage of all by smashing eight boundaries and five massive sixes in what was an outstanding individual display of power-hitting.2. December 11, 2011: Highest ODI score of 119 in a losing side against India
Pollard enjoyed playing in India and the attacking middle-order batter was full of confidence as he embarked on West Indies’ tour of the subcontinent towards the end of 2011. While the tour didn’t go to plan for the Caribbean side — India clinched a 4-1 triumph in the ODI series on the back of dominant performances from the likes of Virender Sehwag, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli — Pollard was one visiting player that stood tall. He scored 199 runs from five hits — the most by any West Indies player — including a career best 119 in the final ODI of the series in Chennai. And it wasn’t the usual stand and deliver type of innings fans were accustomed to, as the Trinidadian showed his versatility with a more circumspect knock against the strong Indian side. Pollard came to the crease with his side at 36/4 and chasing India’s healthy score of 267/6 and he combined with fellow all-rounder Andre Russell (53 off 42 balls) to take West Indies within sight of victory. It wasn’t to be, but Pollard still managed to bring up three figures and finished with four boundaries and 10 maximums in an excellent display of poise and skill.
3. March 23, 2012: Another ODI century — 102 from 70 balls against Australia
Pollard was in sublime form and it didn’t take him long to take a liking to the strong Australian side during their series of the Caribbean at the start of 2012. It was the fourth ODI of the series at Beausejour Stadium in St Lucia and Pollard wasn’t put off by a strong Australian attack that included pace bowler Brett Lee, left-arm spinner Xavier Doherty and all-rounder Shane Watson as captain. The West Indian enjoyed batting with Andre Russell (34 off 32 balls) as the pair put on 94 for the sixth wicket in quick time to put West Indies in a dominant position. Pollard was eventually dismissed by Lee in the final over of the innings, but not before he had brought up his second ODI hundred and led West Indies to a winning score of 294/7 from their 50 overs.
4. October 5, 2012: Party time at 2012 T20 World Cup as Pollard shines with bat and ball in semi-final win over Australia
Later that year, West Indies claimed their first T20 World Cup title and Pollard was front and centre in a star-studded side that brought plenty of life to the 20-over showcase in Sri Lanka. It was in the cut-throat semi-final against Australia in Colombo where Pollard shined brightest as he dominated with bat and ball to ensure the Caribbean side booked their place in the title decider. Dynamic opener Chris Gayle (75* off 41 balls) had already given West Indies a decent start, but Pollard made sure they were able to post a big score as he hit three fours and three sixes and contributed 38 from just 15 deliveries to guide the score past 200. That was always going to be difficult for Australia to chase down and Pollard made sure they had next to no chance by dismissing skipper George Bailey and current Test captain Pat Cummins in consecutive deliveries just when the Aussies were pressing hard and his team needed a breakthrough.
5. March 3, 2021: Power hitting on show as Pollard joins elite club with six sixes in an over
Injury derailed much of the second half of Pollard’s career and he even had to sit out the 2016 T20 World Cup in India when he was expected to dominate. But that didn’t stop Pollard from producing his most well-known feat in the twilight of his career when he became just the third player in international cricket to hit the same bowler for six sixes in one over. Akila Dananjaya had earlier taken a hat-trick by dismissing Evin Lewis, Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran with consecutive deliveries, but Pollard took no notice of that as he dined out on the unorthodox spinner with a superb show of power hitting that guided the West Indies to victory. Pollard hit Dananjaya straight and even clubbed one maximum right into the sightscreen, but it was just a mere chip over the deep mid-wicket boundary from the final ball of the over that helped the burly West Indian join India’s Yuvraj Singh and South Africa’s Herschelle Gibbs as players to have hit six sixes in an over. Jaskaran Malhotra would join the group later in the year.