By BV Swagath
Mumbai Indians clinched a last over thriller over hosts Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens tonight. Both the teams are struggling in the lower half though in the points table with Mumbai Indians just ahead with 4 wins in 7 games while defending Champs KKR are lying low with five defeats in 7 games.
It was an interesting contest between two talented teams infront of a packed house at the Eden Gardens. The match got off to an explosive start as Yusuf Pathan in particular and Gautam Gambhir clobbered the fist over of the KKR innings from Harbhajan Singh for as many 26 runs! Yusuf Pathan failed to make use of his start and got out for a 6-ball 19, caught at slip off Mitchell Johnson. Skipper Gambhir (26 from 20 balls) sustained the initial momentum but got out in the 8th over with his side at 68 for 2.
Mumbai Indians managed to peg back KKR by taking a few wickets but the hosts still managed to post a healthy total of 159 for 6. Jacques Kallis scored a slow 37 from 38 balls but it was the energetic innings from both Manoj Tiwary (33 from 24 balls with 2 fours and a six) and Eoin Morgan (31 from 25 balls with 4 fours and a six) that got the hosts to a par total. For Mumbai Indians, the trio of Johnson, Malinga and Ojha bowled well taking two wickets each and conceding less than 7 runs per over.
The Mumbai Indians’ run chase saw birthday boy Sachin Tendulkar (2) get bowled through the gate trying to drive a turning off break from Sunil Narine. However, Mumbai Indians were still going well with Dwayne Smith striking the ball big to set up the run chase with a 45-ball 62 with 3 fours and 5 sixes. Smith was dismissed in the 11th over caught at long off with the visitors at 82 for 3. Skipper Rohit Sharma got a crucial partnership of 40 with Kieron Pollard to then take Mumbai Indians in a comfortable zone. Rohit scored 34 from 28 balls before he was caught and bowled by Narine in the 17th over.
A good penultimate over from L Balaji saw Mumbai Indians needing 10 to get from the final over. Unfortunately for Gambhir, Kallis didn’t take the field because of an injury and the only option left for the KKR Captain was the medium pace of Rajat Bhatia. The match tilted in KKR’s favour when Pollard (33 from 24 balls) trying to lift a slower leg cutter over long on got a leading edge which was caught at long off. The next man in Harbhajan Singh made an immediate impact by heaving the third ball of the over for a crucial six over deep mid wicket. Mumbai Indians was no sailing comfortably with 3 to get from 3 balls and the match was over with a ball to spare thanks to AT Rayudu (13* from 8 balls) and Harbhajan Singh (7* from 2 balls). For KKR, Sunil Narine bowled brilliantly for his 4-0-17-3.
Toss and Teams: Kolkata Knight Riders have won the toss and decided to bat first. Mumbai Indians have dropped Ricky Ponting and the captaincy has been handed over to Rohit Sharma.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Gautam Gambhir (C), Yusuf Pathan, Jacques Kallis, Eoin Morgan, Manoj Tiwary, Debabrata Das (WK), Rajat Bhatia, Iqbal Abdulla, Sachithra Senanayake, Sunil Narine, Lakshmipathy Balaji
Mumbai Indians: Sachin Tendulkar, Dwayne Smith, Dinesh Karthik (WK), Rohit Sharma (C), Kieron Pollard, Ambati Rayudu, Harbhajan Singh, Mitchell Johnson, Lasith Malinga, Pragyan Ojha, Yuzvendra Chahal
Rain delay: An evening shower has delayed the start of the Kolkata Knight Riders Vs Mumbai Indians match at the Eden Gardens. The toss is expected to take place at 8 PM and the match to start at 8:30 PM if there is no further rain in Kolkata.