MI makes short work of KKR yet again

Mumbai Indians added another win to its successful record against Kolkata Knight Riders beating the latter by nine runs in its concluding IPL-10 league stage encounter here at the Eden Gardens on Saturday.

Rayudu top-scored with 63 that contained six boundaries and three sixes struck in a span of just 37 balls.   -  K. R. Deepak

Mumbai Indians added another win to its successful record against Kolkata Knight Riders beating the latter by nine runs in its concluding IPL-10 league stage encounter here at the Eden Gardens on Saturday.

The win took the visitor to its fifth successful outing against the host in three seasons and made it an overall tournament tally of 15, while ensuring the top slot in the current standings with 20 points.

Full scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Mumbai Indians sailed on the resolve of two of its batsmen plotting a comeback to post a strong 173 for five in the allotted 20 overs as KKR asked it to bat after winning the toss. Ambati Rayudu (63) and Saurabh Tiwary (52) carried the yoke of scoring for the visitor’s with a fine display of stroke-making after thunder-showers just before the action delayed the start by half an hour.

Making the chase Kolkata Knight Riders batting faltered all through the match before some rearguard action by Manish Pandey (33) took the host close to the target. The host finished at 164 for eight unable to tackle the disciplined bowling of the visitor in the death, but was able to maintain a good net run-rate that kept its position secure in the top half of the standings.

The KKR was jolted in the first over of Tim Southee, who got its pinch-hitting opener Sunil Narine out playing a half-hearted slice that landed in the hands of Hardik Pandya in the extra-cover area. The New Zealand pacer finished his opening over as a wicket-maiden giving an indication of the things to come.

Captain Gautam Gambhir and Australian opener Chris Lynn came together to script a recovery pairing in a 41-run partnership (in 23 balls) for the second wicket. The two looked to be control of the situation and picked up 19 runs in Southee’s second over. Gambhir made the mistake of hastening into a shot and ended up top-edgeing an intended pull off Mitchel Johnson to short-fine leg. At 41 for two KKR slid into a bigger crisis as Robin Uthappa (2) and Lynn (26) were back in the pavilion with the score reading 53 for four.

This virtually signalled the end of KKR’s chase as Manish Pandey (33, 33b, 2x4), partnering Yusuf Pathan (20) and Kuldeep Yadav (16), launched a unsuccessful battle to salvage the match.

Having been assured of a top-two spot, Mumbai Indians made six changes apparently to test the bench-strength ahead of the play-offs. Opener Lendl Simmons struggled to tackle the swing and the pace of KKR opening bowler Trent Boult who picked him up in his second over.

Choosing to promote himself up the batting order in absence of Nitish Rana, Sharma revived his sweet relationship with Eden Gardens stepping in to a huge cheer from the crowd. He let the runs fly with a flurry of boundaries and a six helping Mumbai Indians cross 50 by the end of the power-play.

Playing his first match of the season, Saurabh Tiwary kept up the flow of runs in a 57-run partnership (in 36 balls) with Sharma for the second wicket. After Sharma (27) was declared leg before to the KKR pacer Ankit Rajpoot in the ninth over, the MI run making continued at the same brisk pace as Rayudu joined Tiwary in the middle.

Tiwary and Rayudu put up a 61-run stand for the third wicket as Mumbai Indians appeared to be coasting towards a possible score of 200. But a mix-up in the middle saw Tiwary (52, 43b, 9x4) falling short of the crease at the end of the 16th over leaving Rayudu to do the rest of the scoring.

The former India batsman, who suffered a groin injury in the first match against Rising Pune Supergiants, top-scored with 63 that contained six boundaries and three sixes struck in a span of just 37 balls. MI could not do much after Rayudu’s departure in the 19th over when the score read 168 for four.

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