An outstanding bowling effort from Mumbai Indians saw them qualify for the 2017 Indian Premier League [IPL] final after they beat Kolkata Knight Riders by six wickets at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Friday.
Karn Sharma was the star for Mumbai as the leg-spinner bowled one of the spells of the tournament, picking up four wickets and conceding just 16 runs from his four overs.
The 29-year-old’s variations were key as he took the wickets of Sunil Narine [10 off 10 balls], Gautam Gambhir [12 off 15 balls], Colin de Grandhomme [0 off 1 ball], and Ishank Jaggi [28 off 31 balls].
Mumbai skipper Rohit Sharma credited Karn for setting up for the match for Mumbai.
“Karn Sharma bowled really well and set the game for us,” said Rohit.
Jasprit Bumrah was another Mumbai bowler who was on song, with the Indian pacer picking up three wickets and conceding just seven runs from three overs.
Bumrah, who shared the new ball with Mitchell Johnson [2-28 from four overs], took the wicket of Chris Lynn [4 off 8 balls] off his third delivery and the Kolkata batting never really recovered from that early blow as they were bowled out for just 107.
Lynn and Narine, who had enjoyed batting in the Powerplay previously, failed to get going as Kolkata were restricted to 25-3 at the end of six overs.
Gambhir and de Grandhomme fell off successive deliveries soon after and the Knight Riders found themselves staring at a below-par total.
A 56-run partnership between Jaggi and Suryakumar Yadav [31 off 25 balls] steadied things for a bit, but another batting collapse in the backend of the innings saw the Kolkata-based franchise losing their last five wickets for just 20 runs.
Mumbai didn’t get off to the best of starts in their pursuit of 108 as they lost the wickets of Lendl Simmons [3 off 6 balls], Parthiv Patel [14 off 9 balls] and Ambati Rayudu [6 off 11 balls], and found themselves 36-3 at the end of the Powerplay.
Piyush Chawla was asked to bowl in the first six overs and he was impressive as he picked up two wickets.
Rohit and Krunal Pandya [45* off 30 balls] were on hand to calm things down and put Mumbai in complete control of the match as they added 54 runs for the fourth wicket.
Although Rohit was dismissed by Nathan Coulter-Nile for a 24-ball 26, Krunal stayed on until the end as Mumbai made it to their fourth IPL final.
Kolkata skipper Gambhir felt that recovering after losing so many wickets early on was obviously going to be very difficult.
“We discussed after the last game as well that this is not a wicket where you get 160 or 170. This is a wicket where you could try to get 140,” said Gambhir.
“We lost too many wickets upfront and once you lose five wickets for 30-odd, obviously it is very difficult for anyone to recover.”
On the other hand, Rohit was pleased with how different players have stepped up for Mumbai at various points in the season.
“I think that [different players stepping up] has been the hallmark of this team. We’re not dependent on one individual. Every individual, who has come at different points, has taken the responsibility, put their hand up and won the game for us,” said Rohit.
Mumbai will meet Rising Pune Supergiant in the final at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Hyderabad on Sunday.
Kolkata Knight Riders 107 all out, 18.5 overs [Suryakumar 31, Jaggi 28, Karn 4-16, Bumrah 3-7] lost to Mumbai Indians 111-4, 14.3 overs [Krunal 45*, Rohit 26, Chawla 2-34] by six wickets.