Mumbai Indians (MI) held the nerve the beat Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in a dramatic encounter last night in the Indian Premier League. They boosted their playoffs chances with this win. All hopes are not lost for KKR either. For both the teams, the playoffs equation is simple. Win their final group matches, they will be through.
Gautam Gambhir won the toss and asked Mumbai Indians to bat first. Mumbai Indians would have batted first had they won the toss. The KKR bowlers vindicated their skipper’s decision by scalping wickets at regular intervals. Rohit Sharma looked in great touch even when wickets were falling at the other end. He had serenely moved to 30 off 20 balls before Sunil Narine bowled him with a peach of a delivery. The flighted delivery drifted to middle and leg stump as Sharma looked to play in the backfoot towards the leg side. The ball turned to off after pitching and crashed into off stump.
The fall of Rohit brought Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya together. They rebuilt the inning slowly. The score was 99 for four after 15 overs. The next five overs resulted in 72 runs. It was not Pollard who did the damage. He was mostly a spectator in the final overs. Pandya smashed 61 off 31 balls to propel MI’s score to 171 for four. Pollard remained not out on 33 off, well, 38 balls.
KKR started the chase positively, with both Gambhir and Robin Uthappa hitting regular boundaries. They lost two wickets in the sixth over bowled by Harbhajan Singh. Yusuf Pathan then took charge of the chase. He formed useful partnerships, first with Gambhir and then with Shakib al Hasan. But the team lost Shakib and Andrea Russell in quick succession. They needed 42 runs from the last four overs and had five wickets in hand.
KKR scored 30 runs in the next three overs. They needed 12 runs from the last over. And MI has no frontline pace bowlers to bowl the final over. Rohit Sharma trusted Pollard with the final over. He got Pathan in the very first ball, and then gave away just six runs in the next five balls. The final three deliveries of the over were dot balls. Piyush Chawla tried to hit out frantically, but he failed to connect.
Hardik Pandya is the man of the match.