Group President, Group Managing Director & Editor In Chief: Dr.Shelly Ahmed

Thursday, April 09, 2015

IPL 8 Match Review: Rusty Bowling, Clinical Batting Makes 'Kolkata Kinght Riders' First Win Against 'Mumbai Indians'

Kolkata Knight Riders (170 for 3) beat Mumbai Indians (168 for 3) by 7 wickets.

Forty overs is too short a span to judge a team’s performance, but holders Kolkata Knight Riders will still take a lot of positives out of their seven-wicket win over Mumbai Indians in the IPL-8 opener. Despite KKR’s recent success of late, MI has been quite a painful thorn in their sides; this is only KKR’s fifth win against them in all eight IPL seasons. 

Some of these defeats have been quite painful; in 2013, Harbhajan hit a six in the last over to win a match Mumbai had all but lost and in 2011, Mumbai had knocked Kolkata out in the eliminator, winning a close match by five wickets.

So, KKR will take this. Exactly the start they wanted, and even sweeter that it has come against a team who has mostly had the better of them in the Indian Premier League.

All eyes were on Sunil Narine before the start of the match, but it was another international bowler who turned it on at the Eden tonight. Coming off from a great World Cup, Morne Morkel proved with his performance that he could maintain his rhythm across different conditions. Bouncy and fast, Morkel demonstrated that even on a stage like the IPL where batsmen are trying to go after the bowler, very few batsmen have an answer for hostile fast bowling.

Other than Morkel though, KKR’s bowling looked rusty and this will be a slight area of concern. Umesh Yadav bowled a good first over but went steadily downhill after that, finishing with 0/36 in 3 overs. Narine, with a new action, seemed too self-conscious and didn’t deliver up to his usual high standards.

After having Mumbai Indians reeling at 41/3, Gambhir would be disappointed at letting them get away to 168. Both Rohit Sharma and Corey Anderson played masterful knocks, but KKR did not help their cause, dropping Rohit once and Anderson twice. Thankfully, Mumbai returned the favour when they fielded, but other teams will not be as generous.

There were no such complaints about the batting though. KKR carried on where they had let off last season and put in a clinical, comprehensive batting display, something they will be very happy with.

Despite Uthappa’s early dismissal, Kolkata never looked bothered at any stage. Gambhir played a classy knock, playing to his strengths intelligently, milking the runs against the pacers before switching into attack mode against the spinners. Gambhir’s always been good against spin and used his feet expertly to nullify Ojha and Harbhajan in his knock of 57.

KKR will be extremely happy with Manish Pandey’s performance. Jacques Kallis’s retirement has left a big void in this KKR batting lineup but Pandey proved he was equal to the task. Despite Uthappa’s early loss, Pandey played free-stroking cricket, taking the attack to the opposition and not allowing Mumbai to settle. His 40 off 24 balls included three sixes, one of them coming off Malinga.

The finishing was top-class. Suryakumar Yadav has made a name for himself with his exploits for KKR last year, and demonstrated yet again why KKR rate him so highly. Arriving at 98/2 with KKR still needing 71 runs of 48 balls, Surya smashed his second ball for six and coolly hit another six in the delivery after Gambhir’s dismissal, ensuring that Mumbai were unable to apply any kind of pressure despite picking up Gambhir’s wicket.

With 40 required off 30, Kolkata played intelligent cricket. Respecting Malinga’s destructive tendencies at the death, they played it safe and got only two runs in that over, without worrying about letting the equation go up to 38 off 24. The next over, Surya and Pathan launched into young Jasprit Bumrah, hitting him for three sixes and more or less finishing it off for KKR.

A good start for KKR but they’ll be aware that they didn’t perform to their full potential. Wasim Akram, their bowling coach, will want better death bowling and hope Narine’s rustiness was just a one-off. Teams like Royal Challengers Bangalore and Chennai Super Kings loom on the horizon and they will not provide as easy an opposition as Mumbai did in this match.
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