Rana, Hardik make it a night to remember for MI

Thanks to Rana’s maiden IPL 50 and Pandya’s finishing touches, Mumbai Indians opened its tally in the 10th edition of the tournament by overhauling the target off the final over at the Wankhede Stadium.

Nitish Rana on way to his half-century in Mumbai on Sunday.   -  Vivek Bendre

 

Manish Pandey’s heroics, especially in the death overs, guided Kolkata Knight Riders to a competitive total of 178 for seven. But Nitish Rana and Hardik Pandya’s onslaught forced the Knight Riders wilt under the pressure and helped MI retain its supremacy over the arch-rival in a tense finish.

Thanks to Rana’s maiden IPL 50 and Pandya’s finishing touches, Mumbai Indians opened its tally in the 10th edition of the tournament by overhauling the target off the final over at the Wankhede Stadium.

Full scorecard and ball-by-ball details

When Pandya joined Rana in the middle after Kieron Pollard holed out in the deep, the game was all but sealed in the Knight Riders favour with Mumbai Indians requiring 60 runs off 23 balls. But the left-handed Rana, hitting the ball cleanly even when the Mumbai Indians middle order didn’t click with two umpiring decisions going against the team, and Pandya turned the tables in no time.

Despite the wicket, the duo fetched 11 runs off Chris Woakes’ remaining five balls to keep MI in the game. Then came the big over, with Rana tonking Trent Boult at will. Two low-full tosses were despatched for a four and a six and Pandya made it a perfect over by pulling the last ball into the stands.

Ankit Rajpoot, who had pocketed two wickets earlier to leave MI in a spot of bother, then wilted under the pressure, erring in line and length. Even though he got the prized wickets of Rana off the third ball, the 10 runs he had conceded in the first two balls meant Pandya was left to chase down 19 runs off nine balls.

And the pace-bowling all-rounder then gladly despatched a full-toss over mid-wicket fence to leave him with a target of 11 runs off Boult's last over.

With five runs required off three balls, he top-edged Boult but substitute Rishi Dhawan—in the field for captain Gautam Gambhir who along with fellow opener Chris Lynn hurt himself in the field—made a mess of the skier running in from deep backward. That gave Pandya an opportunity to complete two runs. The next ball was on his pads and he nudged it to fine-leg for a boundary and burst into wild celebrations.

Hardik's effort thus complemented his sibling Krunal's effort with a three-wicket haul. Krunal’s effort in the middle overs had tied Pandey down. However, Pandey went after Mitchell McClenaghan in the last over of the innings, which earned the Knight Riders 23 runs. In the end, even that didn't prove to be enough for the Knight Riders.