With brilliant batting from Shubman Gill, Chris Lynn and Russell Arnold, Kolkata Knight riders put 232 runs on the board against Mumbai Indians. They then defended the score despite a valiant effort by Hardik Pandya and break a six-game losing streak to keep alive their hopes of qualifying for the playoffs. The victory also marked KKR’s hundredth win in the IPL and their first win against Mumbai Indians in four years. A win here could have confirmed a place in the playoffs for Mumbai Indians but they will have to wait till their next game for that.
Shubman Gill started the proceedings for KKR with two boundaries off the first two balls bowled by Barinder Saran and six a ball later to score 14 runs off the first over. Chris Lynn assisted Gill in taking KKR to 50 runs at the end of the power play. Lynn took charge from there on scoring a boundary and a six off Yazuvendra Chahar, the same off Krunal Pandya and another 2 boundaries off Saran. KKR lost their first wicket on 96 runs when Lynn tried to clear the ropes at deep midwicket off a Chahar delivery and was caught by Evin Lewis. A promoted Andre Russell walked in to take his guard.
Even as Shubman Gill completed his fifty, Ewin Lewis dropped a difficult chance to catch Russell at deep mid-wicket. Russel had scored only 6 runs off 12 balls when he hit Chahar for two sixes in a row in the fourteenth over which yielded 20 runs along with a six that Gill had hit earlier. At the end of the fifteenth over KKR were 157 for 1 and scoring at the rate of 10.46 runs per over. But oShubman Gill (76 from 45 balls), was caught by Lynn at deep mid-wicket when he tried to swat a Hardik Pandya ball over the boundary. Dinesh Kartik settled into the groove, hitting Jasprit Bumrah for a boundary and a six in the sixteenth over.
Russel garnered most of the strike in the last three overs scored 50 runs off them in which Kartik faced just two balls and contributed two runs. The runs came via 6 sixes and 3 boundaries all off Russell’s bat. As KKR reached 232 for 2, Russell was not out with 80 runs scored off 40 balls. He had hit 8 sixes and 6 fours during his tenure at the crease.
Chasing a mammoth 233 runs for a win Mumbai Indians suffered a setback when they lost the wickets of Quinton de Kock and Rohit Sharma within the power play. Sunil Narine and Harry Gurney were the bowlers who dismissed the batsmen in that order. Russel Arnold, who had caught Quinton de Kock, claimed the wicket of Evin Lewis immediately after power play when he had the batsman edge one to Dinesh Kartik behind the stumps. When Russell had Suryakumar Yadav caught by Kartik, Mumbai Indians were 58 for four in 8.2 overs needing to score at 15 runs per over for 11.4 overs to get the better of Knight Riders.
Hardik Pandya was not in a mood to throw the towel down into the ring. He set about the task by hitting Piyush Chawla for two sixes and Pollard contributed with a boundary to collect 18 runs off the tenth over. Pandya seemed to hit sixes at will and score boundaries as an afterthought even as Pollard was dismissed, caught by Rana off the bowling of Sunil Narine. Hardik put on 64 runs for the sixth wicket with his brother Krunal Pandya in 28 balls. Hardik Pandya was out on the last ball of the eighteenth over when he was caught by Russell off the bowling of Gurney. He had scored 91 runs in 34 balls hitting 9 sixes and 6 boundaries in a valiant effort to get Mumbai home.
In appreciation of Pandya’s inning, Russell who had caught him ran up to Pandya to pat his back and Pandya walked back to a roar of applause from a packed Eden Gardens crowd. But with Pandya’s dismissal went Mumbai Indians hope of a win in this match. Piyush Chawla caught and bowled Krunal Pandya as Mumbai Indians inning wound up scoring 198 runs for 7 wickets. This 34 run win is crucial for KKR because although they are on ten points along with three other teams, their net run rate has turned positive placing them fifth in the league table. They will come up against Kings XI Punjab who is placed immediately below them in the points table on Friday. Mumbai Indians will be looking to confirm their place in the playoffs when they face Sunrisers Hyderabad on Thursday.