Dominant performances from opener Shubman Gill and No. 3 Andre Russellhelped Kolkata Knight Riders halt their six-game losing streak in marvelous fashion against Mumbai Indians as they won their 100th IPL game.
Kolkata Knight Riders batsmen fired on all cylinders to post the season’s highest total, 232 for two, after sensational knocks from Shubman Gill (75 off 45) and Andre Russell (80 not out off 40). At 58 for four, Mumbai were down and out but Hardik Pandya reignited their hopes with a breathtaking 91 off 34 balls.
Mumbai’s pace-bowling pair of Jasprit Bumrah and Lasith Malinga went wicketless for 92 runs in eight overs, and even their most economical bowler, Krunal Pandya, conceded nine runs per over, as Knight Riders accelerated steadily to get 75 in their last five overs.
The much needed win keeps KKR alive in the tournament as they now have 10 points from 12 matches. Mumbai remain in the third spot with 14 points from 12 games.
Staring at elimination, the embattled KKR got off to a fiery start with Shubman Gill (76) and Chris Lynn (54) putting on a 96-run opening stand, their highest this season, after Rohit Sharma opted to bowl in his 100th match as captain.
Russell, KKR’s biggest impact player of the season, was finally seen higher up the order at No. 3. The West Indies power-hitter ensured that KKR finished on a high with an unbeaten effort.
When still on 1, Russell had pulled towards deep square leg, but Lewis – slow to react – couldn’t wrap his fingers around the ball. After that, Russell provided no such opportunities.He teed off in the 14th over, drilling back-to-back sixes off Chahar to move from six off 12 deliveries to 18 off 14. After that, he combined with Gill to attack Mumbai’s bowlers from both ends. At Gill’s departure, Russell was only on 24.
Russell hammered six fours and eight sixes including one off the last ball after he denied a couple of singles to skipper Dinesh Karthik in the last over as KKR creamed 75 runs from the last five overs and scored 135 in the final 10.
The 20th over read 6, 4, 4, dot, dot, 6 – an over where Russell refused two singles – as he raced to 80 off 40, scoring 74 in the last 28 deliveries he faced. The three half-centuries from the KKR top three had put the match beyond MI by then. Add to that, Russell gave away just 25 from his four overs and bagged two wickets to show how underutilised he’s been so far.
Hardik gives Knight Riders a scare
Mumbai lost four wickets inside ten overs but Hardik wasn’t giving up. Walking in at No. 6, Hardik struck six sixes off his first 14 deliveries. He then struck his first four, a cut off Gurney, off his 15th delivery to reach 46, and two balls later reached his fifty with a six over square leg.
From the other end, Pollard found the occasional boundary to keep Mumbai’s score ticking, but it was Hardik who was giving a glimmer of hope to the Mumbai fans. The partnership – at a run-rate of more than 13 – ended in the 14th over when Pollard was caught at square leg off Narine.
With six overs to go, Mumbai needed a further 100 runs to win. Hardik and Krunal creamed 20 off Chawla’s 16th over to bring the equation to 73 off four overs, which came down to 59 off three when he took on Narine
But Hardik fell trying to flat-bat the last ball of the 18th. His 34-ball 91 – including nine sixes and six fours – was his highest T20 score. Mumbai added only 13 after his dismissal in a game where 29 sixes were hit – the sixth-most in an IPL match.
Where next for the teams?
KKR enjoy another break before taking in Kings XI Punjab in Mohali on May 3. MI now play their last two games – both at home – against Sunrisers Hyderabad and KKR on May 2 and 5 respectively.
Brief scores: Kolkata Knight Riders 232 for 2 (Russell 80*, Gill 76, Lynn 54) Mumbai Indians 198 for 7 (Hardik 91, Russell 2-25, Gurney 2-37, Narine 2-44)