The Mumbai Indians are now playing like the Mumbai Indians we know of! It was another complete performance by them and with this win, they break into the top four! Many would have discarded them at the halfway mark in the tournament, but their supporters knew it was far from over and that if there were any team that could possibly make it to the top half of the table from the bottom, it would be Mumbai Indians! Right, so MI traveled all the way to the city of joy and were playing against the Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens.
DK won the toss again and asked MI to bat first. Mumbai Indians were playing with the same eleven which took the field on Sunday while KKR had Curran replacing Johnson in their team and Gill had to sit out due to an injury. Suryakumar and Lewis provided another steady start to the innings. It was that kind of a pitch where one had to get their eyes in first. Russel bowled a decent first over for KKR. They bowled all their bowlers except for Kuldeep in the powerplay overs. Chawla again started off with a full toss on the leg side and Suryakumar helped it along for a boundary. Later in the over, the ball ricocheted off Lewis’s thigh pad, clipped the inside edge and lobbed up to Lynn at short third. It was a freak dismissal, but a wicket nonetheless. It brought Rohit Sharma to the middle. He has a special liking for this ground, as we all know, and a special innings was just around the corner.
Piyush Chawla struck again a couple of overs later. He bowled it short of length and had Suryakumar caught out at deep mid-wicket region. Ishan Kishan joined Rohit in the middle and they had quite a task in front of them. They were 72 for the loss of two wickets at the end of 10 over. The ball was gripping the surface and there was some assistance for the spinners. Kuldeep bowled one beauty to Ishan who completely misread it. He danced down the track the next delivery and hit it in the stands. It was important from MI’s perspective that Ishan Kishan got going. He looked good at the beginning of the tournament, but his performances took a dip during the middle stages. He bludgeoned the ball out of the park and looked hungry to get some runs under his belt. He scored the fastest fifty for MI this season, reaching there in just 17 deliveries. He came down the track and swung hard. He was eventually caught at the boundary ropes off Narine.
Kishan’s innings provided the momentum MI had been looking for. Hardik got in and scored quickly as well. There was one interesting (read controversial) call of a no-ball form the umpire. Replays showed Curran’s foot landed well inside the line, but still, the decision wasn’t overturned. Ben Cutting finished it well as his cameo took MI over 200 run mark. He hit hard and he hit long.
KKR had 211 to chase and it was going to be very difficult. Narine hit a boundary off the very first ball he faced, but perished on the next ball. It was important that someone from the top four stayed at the wicket for long in order to help the team chase such a big total. Lynn got run out because of miscommunication in the middle. Uthappa got out playing a slog sweep to Markande. KKR never really looked to be in the chase. They kept losing wickets at regular intervals and as a result of which the game kept going further away from them. Russel did not look fully fit while bowling and didn’t contribute much with the bat as well.
All hopes were on DK and Rana to get them as much close to the total as possible, if not over. Funnily enough, their wickets fell off consecutive deliveries. With more than half the side down inside ten overs, it was only a matter of time before we had the game done and dusted. All the MI bowlers were amongst the wickets and they bowled well in partnerships. Kolkata Knight Riders were finally bowled out for 108 and MI won the match by 102 runs!
Mumbai Indians move up to the fourth position in the points table. This big win has helped their net run rate as well. They have maintained a healthy net run rate throughout the tournament. It is a testimony to how well Mumbai Indians have played in spite of being caught at the wrong end in some of the earlier games. MI would know they cannot relax just yet. They still have three more games to go in the league stage and they would look to gain maximum points out of these encounters. The team has shown great character thus far and I am proud of the way the boys have responded under pressure. I am sure they will become better players and better individuals as they grow through this together.