It is not often that Chris Gayle can bat through an innings and be totally overshadowed, but Kieron Pollard managed that today. His 63 can off just 29 balls. It was brutal, but calculating, controlled and clinical as well. He hit five 4's and five 6's, but he scored 13 off the remaining 19 balls with some deft touches and fantastic placement.
The New Zealand team were not helped in the slightest by some poor fielding. Both Gayle and Pollard were dropped at least once, and Charles was given two lives in one ball when Latham first dropped a catch then missed a stumping.
Gayle ended up man of the match, in what seems a strange decision to me. There is no doubt that 82 off 59 is a fantastic innings, but what Pollard gave us was something that nobody who was at this match will ever forget.
The ropes were in quite close, but even still, most of Pollard's big hits would have been 6 on the MCG. One shot in particular over extra cover was breathtaking. In dismantling the New Zealand bowling they also managed to dismantle any fears about the quality of the pitch.
The people that run the ground can be congratulated on a great pitch, and a very good outfield. The one negative from that perspective was that they either severely underestimated the number of people coming to the game, or they planned for that number very poorly. Due to an unfortunate mix-up with ticketing I wasn't able to get into the ground until the 11th over, despite arriving almost 2 hours early. While I was waiting I witnessed people queuing for over an hour, often in a disorganised rabble, despite the few security guards who were there trying to keep them in order. The staff who were there were trying hard to process people quickly, but there were not enough of them and there was inadequate signage. After waiting for 40 minutes people were being told that they were at the wrong gate. This was a particularly understandable mistake, as the gates were not marked. Also people had not been told that they were not allowed to bring in food and drink, so a lot of them were furious when told they had to leave their food and drink at the gate.
While the heat was not unbearable, it was hot, and for people to not to be able to bring in water seemed a little unreasonable, particularly when there were people selling water just outside the gate.
However once inside the ground the performance of first Pollard and Gayle, and then the West Indian fielders meant that most of the people stuck outside will have completely forgotten the difficulty they had getting in.