MI flattens Knight Riders to set up IPL final with Supergiant

Set a sub-par 108-run target, Mumbai Indians cruised home with 5.3 overs to spare.

Krunal Pandya of MI is pumped up after winning the match at the M. Chinnaswamy stadium in Bengaluru on Friday.   -  K. Bhagya Prakash

Mumbai Indians (MI) inflicted a punishing six-wicket defeat on Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the IPL Qualifier-2 here on Friday, and entered the final in style. MI will take on Rising Pune Supergiant in the summit clash, in Hyderabad, on Sunday.

Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Set a sub-par 108-run target, MI cruised home with 5.3 overs to spare. Rohit Sharma and Krunal Pandya were the biggest contributors with the willow, sending KKR out of the competition. Mumbai did face a few early hiccups in the chase, when its top-order was sent back cheaply. KKR was in contention to pull off a miracle, but this phase did not last for long. Skipper Rohit (26, 24b, 1x4, 1x6) and Krunal (45 n.o., 30b, 8x4) turned off the alarm bells by putting on 54 runs for the fourth wicket.

When Rohit mistimed a pull and was caught near the fence, the game was as good as over. Kieron Pollard (9 n.o., 7b) then joined Krunal to take MI safely past the finish line. Put in to bat, KKR collapsed to a low total after a mindless batting display. The need of the hour on this slow pitch was a steady approach, but the KKR batters showed little patience or skill. Wickets were frequently lost to ill-timed heaves, resulting in the franchise being bundled out in only 18.5 overs. The KKR essay fell short on runs and substance.

While the openers Chris Lynn and Sunil Narine — tasked with making quick runs — can be excused for falling to big shots, the rest of the line-up simply let the side down. Robin Uthappa was caught in front of the stumps by Jasprit Bumrah, and in the next over, Gautam Gambhir holed out to deep mid-wicket. Gambhir’s dismissal came as a huge blow, as the skipper was expected to anchor the innings. He was enticed into a slog-sweep by leggie Karn Sharma, and found the fielder on the ropes.

In the very next delivery, a ripper of a flipper trapped all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme on his pads. While KKR was able to deny Karn a hat-trick, it had slipped to a precarious 31 for five.

Ishank Jaggi and Suryakumar Yadav then played sensible cricket to avoid further damage. The duo steadied the ship by rotating the strike and finding the occasional boundary. After applying himself at the crease for nearly 10 overs, Ishank Jaggi lost the plot. The Jharkhand cricketer, playing his second IPL match this season, struck a full Karn offering to long-on. Jaggi was gone for a 31-ball 28, ending a 56-run sixth-wicket stand.

Now reeling at 87 for six, KKR sunk further into self-destruct mode.

Instead of efficiently negotiating the 31 balls left in the bag, Piyush Chawla, Suryakumar and Nathan Coulter-Nile went for glory and paid the price for it. Karn (four for 16) and the pacy Bumrah (three for seven) were thoroughly impressive with the ball, even if the opposition provided little to no resistance.

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