IPL 2018: Hardik Pandya's all-round show and other takeaways as Mumbai Indians keep playoff hopes alive

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Pandya shone with both bat and ball. Image - IPL/Twitter.

Mumbai Indians kept their playoff hopes in the IPL alive with a 13-run victory over Kolkata Knight Riders in a must-win clash at the Wankhede stadium on Sunday.

Having put up 181-4 after being put in to bat first, the defending champions restricted the Knight Riders to 168-6 to stay alive in the competition.

Here, we look at the key talking points from the clash.

CONSISTENT SURYAKUMAR GIVES MUMBAI EXPLOSIVE START

Suryakumar Yadav has been single-handedly carrying Mumbai’s hopes with the bat this season. The leading run-scorer for the defending champions this season was at it again against his former employers on Sunday as he combined with Evin Lewis to give his side a scorching start.

The right-hander batsman played some delightful strokes as Kolkata’ bowlers wilted in the Mumbai heat in the powerplay.  Suryakumar added 91 runs in just over nine overs for the first-wicket with Lewis before the West Indies batsman was dismissed by Andre Russell.

Suryakumar carried on in the same vein though and notched up his fourth IPL fifty this season, taking just 31 balls to get to the mark. He ultimately perished trying to slog-sweep Sunil Narine for a fine 59 (39) which had set Mumbai up for a huge total.

CARIBBEAN DUO HALT MUMBAI CHARGE

After Lewis and Suryakumar have given the hosts an explosive start, it looked like Kolkata could be staring at a target well over 200. That was until Andre Russell provided the visitors with the big breakthrough with his very first over. He outfoxed his West Indies compatriot Lewis with a slower delivery to bring an end to his 41-run knock.

Then, another West Indies man in Narine got into the act, dismissing Mumbai skipper Rohit Sharma and the dangerous Krunal Pandya as they searched for quick runs. Russell then got the big wicket of Suryakumar after having him caught behind as Mumbai’s good start came undone between the ninth and 17th over.

Having scored 103 runs in the first 11 overs, Mumbai added only 78 in the final nine overs for a disappointing finish.

UTHAPPA MAKES THE MOST OF HIS LIFE

The trend of dropped catches turning out to be costly for team in the IPL continued on Sunday with Mumbai’s Mayank Markande giving Robin Uthappa a huge reprieve. Uthappa was fresh to the crease after Kolkata has lost both its openers in the space of three deliveries.

After being startled by a Hardik Pandya in the previous delivery, Uthappa miscued another short-delivery from the India all-rounder straight to Markande at mid-on. The young leg-spinner dropped one of the easiest catches possible on the cricket field as the hosts let slip the opportunity to close the doors on Kolkata.

Uthappa made the most of his chance and ironically, it was Markande who came at the receiving end of his assault. The Kolkata stalwart smashed the leg-spinner for two consecutive sixes in his very first over to run salt in the wounds. The right-handed batsman continued his assault as he brought up his fifty off just 32 balls with three consecutive boundaries. In the end, it was Markande who had the last laugh though as he claimed the wicket of the half-centurion.

PANDYA’S ALL-ROUND SHOW WINS IT FOR MUMBAI

Hardik’s 20-ball unbeaten 35 had dug Mumbai out of a hole towards the death to take them over the 180-run mark. He then followed up that batting cameo with an impressive turn with the ball.

The all-rounder used the slower delivery to good effect with his very first ball to dismiss Kolkata opener Shubman Gill and should have had a second but Markande dropped a sitter off Uthappa. Using his short-delivery to put the batsmen on the back-foot, Hardik returned to remove the well-set Nitish Rana to put Mumbai in the ascendancy.

Conceding only six runs in a brilliant final over, the new leading wicket-taker (14) in the tournament finished with excellent figures of 2-19 from his four overs to close the doors on Kolkata.

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IPL 2018 Preview: Royal Challengers Bangalore's hopes fading as Sunrisers Hyderabad juggernaut awaits

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RCB have their backs against the wall. Image - IPL/Twitter.

There will be no more second chances for Royal Challengers Bangalore when they take on IPL leaders Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Rajiv Gandhi International stadium on Monday.

The six-wicket loss to Chennai Super Kings means that Virat Kohli’s men have lost six out of nine matches and will need to win each of their remaining five games to even stand a chance of making the playoffs.

On the other hand, Kane Williamson’s Sunrisers are emerging as the runaway favourites after a run of four impressive victories on the trot.

RCB’S HOPES FADING

Virat Kohli has cut a picture of frustration in the middle for most of the IPL season. Despite having the riches in the batting department, the side has simply not fired as a collective and has struggled for consistency. One more defeat and RCB’s wait for their first IPL crown will be prolonged for another year at least.

Their three star batsmen in Kohli, Brendon McCullum and AB de Villiers all misfired in the defeat to Chennai and they will have to deliver if Bangalore are to stand a chance against Sunrisers’ lethal bowling unit. They will also want more from their Kiwi all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme who hasn’t going yet in the tournament.

SUNRISERS CAN BAT TOO

Throughout the tournament, it has been Hyderabad’s bowling unit which has been taking all the plaudits and been the catalyst for their wins. However, Williamson’s men showed they can turn it on with the bat too when it comes to it after they chased down their highest total (164) in their thrilling seven-wicket win over Delhi Daredevils on Saturday.

Alex Hales’ introduction has given some much needed firepower at the top while Williamson has shown an ability to change gears according to each situation. With Shikhar Dhawan finding some form and Manish Pandey looking good, the hosts batting is looking better than ever.

LIKELY LINE-UPS

Sunrisers Hyderabad: Alex Hales, Shikhar Dhawan, Kane Williamson (c), Manish Pandey, Shakib Al Hasan, Yusuf Pathan, Wriddhiman Saha, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rashid Khan, Sandeep Sharma, Sidharth Kaul.

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Parthiv Patel (wk), Brendon McCullum, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Mandeep Singh, Colin de Grandhomme, Murugan Ashwin, Tim Southee, Umesh Yadav, Mohammad Siraj.

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MI v KKR LIVE: Kolkata Knight Riders' openers fall early in chase of 182

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Kolkata are bowling first

It’s another game in the IPL and it’s a big one as defending champions Mumbai Indians take on Kolkata Knight Riders. 

KKR captain Dinesh Karthik won the toss and elected to bat at the Wankhede Stadium. They welcome back Nitish Rana who missed their last game.

For Mumbai Indians, defeat is not an option. Another loss will surely signal the end of their play-off hopes.

Don’t miss any of the action from Mumbai!

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