Thanks to Jacques Kallis’ 72 and Sunil Narine’s 4-0-20-4, the Kolkata Knight Riders sailed to a massive 41-run win against the Mumbai Indians. After the KKR batters, put up 163 runs on the board, their bowlers ensured a fluent victory to kick off their Pepsi IPL 2014 campaign.
Earlier, KKR won the toss and chose to bat first. However, before Gautam Gambhir (0) could get his eye in, he was done in by Lasith Malinga. The MI pacer dished out his trademark yorker and bowled the opposition skipper out, leaving KKR on four for one in the second over. However, Kallis and Manish Pandey seized the momentum from MI thereafter. The duo put together 131 runs for the second wicket during a 15-plus-over stretch.
By smashing sixes and fours fairly regularly, both Kallis and Pandey kept the KKR run-rate in the vicinity of eight-an-over. Both batters brought up their half-centuries during their partnership. Finally, the second-wicket stand ended when Rohit Sharma reintroduced his most reliable death-over weapon, Malinga. The ace pacer bowled Pandey (64) out, much to the relief of the MI faithful.
Thereafter, Zaheer Khan made sure Robin Uthappa’s (1) first innings in KKR colours was a brief one. Kallis (72) soon walked back to the dugout; Malinga got the better of the veteran batsman, who was caught by a diving Corey Anderson at long-off. And later in the same over – the 19th of the innings – Malinga bagged yet another IPL four-for by dismissing Shakib Al Hasan (1).
Yusuf Pathan (4*), who was kept down to a run-a-ball by the MI bowlers, was then joined by former Mumbai Indian, Suryakumar Yadav (13*). The 23-year-old made sure KKR got past the 160-run mark with his five-ball cameo that was laced with three fours, including one off the last ball. So, after losing their way briefly, KKR managed 163 for five in their allotted 20 overs.
For MI, Malinga outshone the rest of the bowlers with figures of 4-0-23-4. Zaheer (4-0-23-1) was the only other wicket-taker for MI.
Michael Hussey (3), making his MI debut, then opened the batting along with Aditya Tare. However, Mr Cricket fell prey to the foxy Sunil Narine after struggling to find his rhythm during his 13-ball knock. Tare (24) then tried to keep up with the required rate, but Shakib soon caught him off his own bowling. At that point, MI were struggling at 40 for two in the eighth over.
In came skipper Rohit Sharma, who along with Ambati Rayudu tried to bring the defending champions back on track. The duo added 61 for the third wicket. But with the required rate creeping up, big shots were needed. And in an attempt to clear the ropes, Rohit (27) finally perished. His wicket tilted the game in KKR’s favour as Morne Morkel and Narine used the momentum to stifle the incoming batters. Both bowlers bowled at a sub-six economy rate. While Morkel ended up with figures of 16 for one in his four overs, Narine ended up with four invaluable scalps that knocked MI out of the contest.
Rayudu (48) was the top scorer for MI, and even he failed to read Narine, who eventually had him stumped. The big-hitting Anderson (2) also failed to make an impact as Narine knocked his stumps over. A couple of balls later, Harbhajan Singh faced the same fate as the KKR spinner got past his defense as well. This wicket was Narine’s 50th in the IPL, making him the fastest bowler in the league’s history to get to this landmark.
Piyush Chawla then had CM Gautam stumped off the last ball of the 20th over. MI only managed to score 122 for seven in what turned out to be a fairly one-sided match.
Man of the Match: Jacques Kallis for his match-winning 72