Kolkata Knight Riders had seven wickets in the tank and they needed just 40 runs off the last six overs. But a combination of some appalling strokeplay, outstanding bowling and a complete meltdown of their middle-order has ensured that defending champions Mumbai Indians continue their dominance against the former to notch up their maiden win of the tournament.
Chasing 153 to win, the opening duo of Nitish Rana and Shubman Gill got Kolkata Knight Riders off to a steady start.
Rana, who started off with an imperious cover-drive, took the liking to Trent Boult as he smashed him for 15 runs in the 12 balls he faced from the Kiwi pacer.
Shubman Gill, meanwhile, once again enthralled with his sumptuous strokeplay. The 21-year-old hit a classy straight-drive off Jasprit Bumrah and then followed if with consecutive pull-strokes- one in front of square followed by the other towards backward square-leg- off Marco Jansen.
Gill then proceeded to loft Jansen over mid+on for another boundary as Kolkata Knight Riders finished the powerplay at 0/46.
Rana smashed a six and a four off Kieron Pollard in the 8th over to take the total to 0/62 before Gill took apart Rahul Chahar with another four and a six in the next over.
But, Rahul Chahar [4-27 in four overs] eventually had the last laugh as Gill failed to pick the leg-break and ended up skying an attempted lofted shot straight to Kieron Pollard to give Mumbai Indians a much-needed breakthrough.
Nitish Rana, however, continued to play his natural game but Rahul Tripathi never looked comfortable against Chahar. And, the leg-spinner finally accounted for him as he got one to turn viciously past Tripathi’s outside edge, and Quinton de Kock did the rest. KKR- 2/84 in 10.3.
Nitish Rana reached yet another half-century in just 40 balls but Rahul Chahar continued to chip away. His third victim came in the form of KKR skipper Eoin Morgan, who failed to get the pitch of the ball and holed out at deep midwicket.
Chahar rounded off his spell with yet another wicket in the form of Nitish Rana [57 off 47 balls], who ran down rhe pitch, only to get deceived by a slider.
The Knight Riders lost another crucial scalp in the form of Shakib Al Hasan in the very next over bowled by Krunal Pandya after the former mistimed the slog-sweep to give an easy catch to Surykumar Yadav at deep midwicket.
It could have got even worse for Kolkata Knight Riders had Krunal Pandya not shelled a straightforward return catch of Andre Russell in the same over.
Just one run came off the 16th over bowled by Krunal and with 30 needed off the last four overs, Rohit brought Bumrah back in the attack. Bumrah gave just 1 run off the first four deliveries but the champion pacer made a cardinal sin of overstepping the line and Russell made full of it by smoking him for a four on the free hit.
The equation eventually reduced to 22 off the last three overs and Russell got another reprieve of the bowling of Kunal [1-13 in 4 overs] as Jasprit Bumrah failed to catch what was a tough opportunity- a skier that went miles in the air. But Krunal ensured that he gave away just 3 runs in the 18th over to leave 19 in the bank.
Bumrah backed it up with another outstanding bowler in which he kept taking the pace off the ball and firing it in wide of off-stump to give away just four runs.
Karthik and Russell [15-ball 9] especially swung like rusty gates and the latters painful stay at the crease finally came to an end courtesy of a brilliant yorker by Trent Boult. Boult backed it up by knocking over Pat Cummins to seal the deal for the Mumbai Indians.
Mumbai Indians collapsed again as Kolkata Knight Riders’ all-rounder Andre Russell ran through the lower middle-order
Having chosen to bowl first, Kolkata Knight Riders got off to a good start as Varun Chakravarthy knocked over the dangerous Quinton de Kock for a 6-ball 2.
It all happened in the second over of the Mumbai Indians innings when Chakravarthy tossed the ball above the eye-line of the Proteas swashbuckler.
De Kock’s eyes immediately lit up but in an attempt to flick it over mid-on, he closed the face of the bat early, only to see Rahul Tripathi take a brilliant catch.
Harbhajan Singh, who bowled a brilliant first over, was taken for three boundaries in his second by the ever-so stylish Surykumar Yadav, who forced him to change his line and length by slog-sweeping him from outside off.
Harbhajan overcompensated by bowling quicker and Yadav pounced on it by shimming down the track to chip him past long-on before driving him on the up through the cover region.
With Rohit Sharma suspectable against spin during the initial part of his innings, Eoin Morgan bowled five overs of spin in the powerplay before Pat Cummins was finally introduced to bowl the 6th over.
Yadav welcomed him with a cracking cut shot past point for another boundary as Mumbai Indians finished at 1/42.
SKY, as usual, was on an absolute rampage. An artist masquerading as a batsman, Yadav stylishly flicked Prasidh Krishna for a six over cow-corner and followed it up with a sumptuous cover-drive for a four.
And, if that wasn’t enough, the 30-year-old opened the face of his bat at the very last minute to guide it past third man for another boundary. Surya raced his way to 40 off just 27 balls as Mumbai raced to 1/64 after 8.
Rohit Sharma, on the other hand, played second fiddle to Suryakumar Yadav as he maneuvered the strike against the wily Shakib Al Hasan, who gave away just 16 runs in his three overs.
Surya continued to go full throttle and he brought up his 33-ball 50 with yet another stylish stroke, one that went out of the ground after he picked the bones out of a Pat Cummins length delivery and flicked over deep backward square-leg.
The highlight reel finally ended when SKY (56 off 36 balls) mistimed lofted stroke off Shakib Al Hasan to give an easy catch to Shubmab Gill at long-on.
The wicket of Suryakumar Yadav proved to be a turning point in the game as Mumbai Indians lost their last eight wickets for 66 in 9.3 overs.
While Pat Cummins (2/24 in 4 overs) claimed the likes of Ishan Kishan and Rohit Sharma in quick succession, Andre Russell, in an inspiring spell of two overs, mopped up the remaining five wickets- 5/15 in 2 overs- to bowl Mumbai Indians out for 152.
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