A much-changed Mumbai Indians managed to get the better of Kolkata Knight Riders by nine runs at the Eden Gardens on Saturday.
With this win, Mumbai have guaranteed themselves of finishing first in the league stage and will face either Sunrisers Hyderabad or Rising Pune Supergiant in Qualifier 1 at home on Tuesday.
Having already qualified for the playoffs, Mumbai decided to rest some of their key players as they made as many as five changes for the match.
Prior to this game, Saurabh Tiwary and Ambati Rayudu had played just one match between them in the entire season, but both batsmen were instrumental in building a foundation for Mumbai’s win.
Tiwary, opening the innings, stuck around and played a gritty innings which saw him score 52 from 43 balls. The left-handed batsman formed two half-century partnerships; a 57-run stand with Rohit Sharma [27 off 21 balls] and then a 61-run stand with Rayudu.
Rayudu was, himself, in fine form as he slammed six fours and three sixes in his knock of 63 from just 37 deliveries. The 31-year-old was named as the Player of the Match for his efforts with the bat.
Mumbai would manage 173-5 in their 20 overs, with Trent Boult being the most impressive of the Kolkata bowlers. The New Zealand pacer picked up two wickets in his four-over spell.
In reply, the Knight Riders were dealt a big blow in the opening over when Tim Southee got rid of Sunil Narine for a duck.
Despite the loss of an early wicket, the Kolkata-based team kept attacking – a tactic that was probably used as an attempt to get their net run-rate over that of Mumbai’s.
But the aggressive batting of the hosts didn’t work as they kept losing wickets at regular intervals. A number of Kolkata batsmen got starts, but none of them were able to kick on and play a match-winning knock.
Manish Pandey top scored for Gautam Gambhir’s side with a run-a-ball 33.
On the other hand – Southee, Vinay Kumar, and Hardik Pandya picked up two wickets each for the visitors.
While Mumbai will play Qualifier 1, Kolkata will now have to travel to Bengaluru to play the Eliminator. If they win that, then they will have to play Qualifier 2, the winner of which will face the winner of Qualifier 1 in the final in Hyderabad.
Mumbai Indians 173-5, 20 overs [Rayudu 63, Tiwary 52, Boult 2-30] beat Kolkata Knight Riders 164-8, 20 overs [Pandey 33, de Grandhomme 29, Hardik 2-22] by nine runs.
Player of the Match – Ambati Rayudu.