Mumbai Indians chokes KKR to remain in hunt

The Dinesh Karthik-led side now slips to the fifth spot, while Rohit Sharma and his men enter the top four.

Kolkata Knight Riders' Rinku Singh (left) walks off the field after his dismissal as Mumbai Indians' Jasprit Bumrah (second left) celebrates with his team-mates at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Wednesday.   -  AP

 

Ishan Kishan did a world of good to his profile as a T20 batsman by scoring a breathtaking 21-ball 62 and enabling Mumbai Indians to an emphatic 102-run win over Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League fixture at the Eden Gardens here on Wednesday.

The former India under-19 captain's superb knock powered MI to amass 210 after being asked to bat first.

KKR's meek surrender for a paltry 108 fetched the touring side its fifth and biggest win and promoted it to the fourth spot.

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Ishan, who has been waiting to make an impression for the last five matches, pounced on the KKR bowlers like a hungry tiger.

The diminutive southpaw began by stepping out to hoist Kuldeep Yadav majestically over long on before finding the gaps to plunder three boundaries off Piyush Chawla in the 11th over. The assault gave a much-needed fillip to the MI run rate.

As he stepped up to a more aggressive mode, the 19-year-old Jharkhand batsman not only overshadowed his illustrious captain Rohit Sharma, who picked up his first boundary after 16 deliveries, but also opener Suryakumar Yadav, who had given MI a decent start with his 32-ball 36 containing some well-executed shots.

 

Ishan's astounding performance featured some fine footwork and exemplary shot selection as he bludgeoned six sixes, including four on-the-trot off Kuldeep in the 14th over. His contribution, at a strike rate of more than 295, in a blazing 34-ball 88-run stand for the third wicket with Rohit set a perfect stage.

Ishan, who got his second half-century and the joint-second fastest 50 (achieved in 17 deliveries) of the season, departed in the 15th over, caught at backward square-leg, while trying another six off Sunil Narine, who turned out to be the most economical home bowler because of his accuracy.

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Rohit, who managed a sedate 36, added 33 runs with Hardik Pandya but it was Ben Cutting's cameo, a nine-ball 24, which spurred MI to garner 22 off the last over by Chawla and reach its second 200-plus aggregate of the season.

Chawla ended up as KKR's most successful yet most expensive bowler. KKR bled profusely in the last seven overs, conceding 98 runs.

In reply, KKR crumbled under pressure to lose seven wickets, including two run outs, for 76 inside 11 overs as the MI bowlers chose tidy lines keeping the fielders in mind.

Hardik's focus on his bowling fetched him good rewards. His third over, which saw the back of Dinesh Karthik and Nitish Rana, denied the host any chance of a comeback and worsened its poor track record against MI.