Setting a target of 196 runs in 20 overs, the Mumbai Indians, backed by Rohit Sharma’s 54-ball 80 and splendid fielding from Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya, defeated the Kolkata Knight Riders by 49 runs in the Indian Premier League held at Abu Dhabi, UAE on Wednesday (September 23).
Invited to bat, Mumbai Indians scored 195 for five in the stipulated 20 overs. However, the Kolkata Knight Riders were stopped at 146 for nine wickets.
Rohit pummelled the KKR bowlers into submission for a 54-ball 80. The defending champions were well-served by Sharma (80) and Suryakumar Yadav (47) as the duo put on a quick 90-run stand for the second wicket. The night belonged to Rohit, the great white-ball exponent, whose knock was laced with six sixes.
Rohit became the second Indian cricketer to hit 200 sixes in the IPL, with these six sixes.
Then the Jasprit Bumrah-led Mumbai attack did most things right to restrict KKR to 146 for nine and end their winless streak in the UAE. KKR were never on course for a comfortable chase as they lost openers Shubhman Gill (7) and Sunil Narine (9) cheaply to be in a spot of bother at 25 for two.
One-down skipper Dinesh Karthik (30 off 23) and Nitish Rana (24 off 18) tried to up the ante but they were still playing the catch-up game with 125 runs needed from the last 10 overs. Kolkata were dealt a double blow in quick succession first Karthik was trapped by Rahul Chahar (2/26) in front of the wicket and then Hardik Pandya grabbed a running catch on the fence to send back Rana.
Bumrah (2/32) in the 16th over sealed the game for Mumbai as he removed Andre Russell (11), who was bowled, and then forced Eoin Morgan (20) to edge to the wicket-keeper. Pat Cummins (33 off 12) launched into Bumrah with four sixes in a very expensive 18th over, but it was too late for Kolkata, who failed to put up a contest.
Bumrah went for 27 runs. Kieron Pollard (1/21), Trent Boult (2/30), James Pattison (2/25 ) played their roles to perfection. Earlier, put into bat, after Shivam Mavi (2/32) removed opener Quinton De Kock (1) cheaply, Rohit (80 off 54 balls; 3 fours, 6 sixes) and Suryakumar Yadav (47 off 28; 6 fours, 1 six) added 90 runs for the second wicket to pull the team out of trouble.
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Rohit, who began with a maximum, displayed his languid grace and elegance as he took the Kolkata attack to the cleansers. Surya effortlessly smashed four boundaries off Sandeep Warrier (0/34), including a cover-drive and a flick, in the third over. Rohit got going after smashing pacer Pat Cummins (0/49) for two maximums both being his trademark pull-short.
With the two looking good and hitting sixes and fours at will, Mumbai raced to 94/1 after 10 overs. Kolkata, however, cut short Surya’s stay when he was run out. Rohit continued his brutal onslaught against chinaman Kuldeep Yadav (0-39), smashing him for two maximums.
Saurabh Tiwary (21), Hardik Pandya (18) played perfect second fiddle to Rohit, who literally bulldozed the opposition bowlers. Kolkata tried to pull things back by removing Rohit, Hardik in quick succession even as Mumbai added 48 runs in the last five overs.
With this victory, the Mumbai Indians became the first team to record 20 victories against a single opponent in IPL history. Furthermore, this is the first match after seven years where the Kolkata Knight Riders lost an opening match in an IPL season.
(With inputs from agencies)