Kolkata Knight Riders 159 for 3 (Tripathi 74*, Iyer 53, Bumrah 3-42) beat Mumbai Indians 155 for 6 (Quinton de Kock 55, Rohit 33, Ferguson 2-27) by seven wickets
Chasing 156, KKR blitzed their way to a sterling win, with almost 5 overs to spare, effectively improving their NRR and sneaking into the top 4. The brand of fearless cricket that Brendon McCullum had been so vociferously advocating, was on full display as every batsman made full use of the liberty to showcase their talent.
Every year the IPL throws up some unknown heroes and makes them into household names. This year amongst them is, Venkatesh Iyer. Openers Gill and Iyer went for the bowling right from the 1st ball and the first 2 overs from Boult & Milne went for 15 runs each. By the time, Bumrah had the measure of Gill, the score was already 40 in just 3 overs. Rahul Tripathi continued with the power hitting and by the end of the power play, KKR were 63/1. There was no respite even after the fielding restrictions were lifted as Tripathi and Iyer continued their merry ways.
Iyer (53 runs in 30 balls) reached to his 50 in just 25 balls, while Tripathi (74* in 42) followed soon after chalking his half century in 29 balls. By the time, Iyer was out in the 13th over, KKR needed just 28 runs in 48 balls, which they overcame without any hiccups. Morgan got out cheaply and will rue the fact of a missed opportunity of some batting practice but will be buoyed by the fact that KKR has now managed to bounce back in the last 2 games.
Earlier in the day, Rohit made a comeback after an injury layoff, and Quniton de Kock started briskly. The opening pair added 56 runs in the 1st 6 overs of the power play. Morgan opted to start with spin and QDK was watchful and while Rohit did get out to a sedate 30 off 33 balls (Narine yet again accounting for Rohit’s wicket in the T20s).
The score looked poised to explode from 80/1 in 10 overs. However, the acceleration just did not come and some canny bowling from the 3 KKR spinners – Rana, Narine & Chakravarthy – alongwith pacer Ferguson put the skids on the scoring rate and MI finished with a par 155/6 in their allotted 20. Even Pollard’s 21 off 15 could not add the much needed impetus.
MI will need to find their groove immediately and hit the ground running, if they hope for a place for top 4 finish. Rohit indicated during the post match talk that they indeed do have an eye on the points table, so hope that they see a change in their fortunes soon.