It was a straightforward equation for Kolkata Knight Riders – win against Mumbai Indians and make it to the IPL 2019 playoffs. But it was Mumbai who did all the running around as KKR were brushed aside by nine wickets at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday.
Kolkata failed to get out of second gear against a disciplined Mumbai attack as they could only muster 133-7 with veteran quick Lasith Malinga picking up 3-35 and Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah chipping in with two wickets apiece. The target didn’t bother Mumbai one bit as they coasted home with skupper Rohit Sharma scoring an unbeaten fifty.
With the win, Mumbai jumped to the top of the points table and will now play the first qualifier against Chennai Super Kings. Kolkata’s defeat meant Sunrisers Hyderabad became the first team in IPL history to make it to the playoffs with just 12 points due to a better net run rate following a three way tie with KKR and Kings XI Punjab.
Kolkata seemed to have the right intentions as Chris Lynn powered them at the start by hitting 41 off 29. But the rest of the top order had a harrowing time as Mumbai used cutters brilliantly to slow down the scoring rate.
Hardik dismissed Shubman Gill and Lynn with well disguised slower ones, which brought about one of the most astounding runs of play. From over number nine to 13, Kolkata crawled from 57-2 to 73-4 – losing two wickets in one over including Andre Russell for a duck. They scored just 16 runs in five overs with Robin Uthappa even playing out a maiden in the 11th over.
Uthappa slows down
I wonder if you can add, in the playing conditions in T20 cricket, the possibility of recalling a batsman. There is no disrespect in that, the best have an off-day, and it will provide the team with an option to correct a wrong decision, maybe.— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) May 5, 2019
Uthappa’s inability to rotate the strike or hit sufficient boundaries saw Kolkata completely lose their way. Had it not been for a 13-ball 26 by Nitish Rana, KKR would have finished with an even lower total. In the end, Uthappa consumed 47 balls for his 40 as Kolkata played out as many as 60 dot balls.
Mumbai pacers made great used of the slowness of the pitch to pick up seven wickets with Bumrah picking up two off the final two balls of the innings. However, the biggest strike of the match came earlier when Malinga bowled a sharp bouncer from round the wicket to Russell in the 13th over to catch the glove behind. It was that sort of a day for Kolkata where simply nothing worked.
All over in a flash
The Knight Riders needed their best bowling effort of the season to defend 134. But on a still decent pitch, the bowling KO punch never came as Mumbai skipper Rohit (55 not out) and one down bat Suryakaumar Yadav (46 not out) took the hosts home with nine wickets in hand and almost four overs to spare.
Kolkata star all-rounder Russell had his worst game of the season when the team needed him the most, bleeding 34 runs from 2.1 overs to go with his duck. It was a terrible way for Russell to end the IPL campaign and underlined the importance of a collective effort.
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