Mumbai Indians would be proud of the performance they put up in yesterday’s game. They are currently placed 5th in the points table with four wins and act as a sort of a bridge between the top 4 and the bottom 3. They will look to further consolidate their position and break into the top four. Mumbai Indians were up against the Kolkata Knight Riders who have been sitting pretty in the top half of the table since the beginning of the tournament. Apart from the top two, the rest of the slots would see quite a few changes in the upcoming games.
DK won the toss and invited MI to bat first. Teams batting second at Wankhede do have the upper hand and we have the statistics to prove that. On a lighter note though, his team would have been reluctant to take the field on a hot Sunday afternoon in Mumbai! MI had no changes in their side for this match. KKR had a debutant in the form of Prasidh Krishna.
Nitish Rana came on to bowl the first over and Suryakumar was up and running straight away. Lewis took his time to get going. His eyes lit up on seeing a waist high full toss from Chawla, which he so nonchalantly deposited into the stands. He did not look back after that. He then even overtook Suryakumar in terms of rate of run-scoring. They both provided a solid start, something which MI hadn’t been getting in the past couple of games. They put up 92 runs together at more than ten an over. None of the bowlers seemed to trouble the batsmen except for Russel. Lewis miscued one and was caught by Lynn at short third. Rohit promoted himself and came in at 3. Narine was brought on immediately and he got the big fish.
Suryakumar continued striking the ball well and reached his fourth fifty of the tournament. The heat and humidity, however, did him in. He was out there in the middle from the beginning and had done quite a lot of running between the wickets. It is not easy especially during this time of the year and one could see how drained he was. He got out soon after. Pandya brothers were looking good in the middle and MI would have hoped to get in excess of 200. Krunal couldn’t last long and Duminy found it hard to get going in the death overs. KKR did manage to pull things back a bit. Ben Cutting would have been a better option to go with at that stage. Having said that, even Duminy is good enough to hit the big shots, but it was just one of ‘those days’.
With 182 to chase, KKR would have fancied themselves to get over the line at the halfway mark. They threw in a surprise as Gill walked out to open with Lynn. Mitch went for a couple of boundaries in his second over, however, had Lynn pulling one straight to Bumrah at short fine leg. A couple of deliveries later, Gill hit one straight up in the air which was gobbled up by Krunal. It was a perfect start for the Mumbai Indians, sending two in-form batsmen back in the hut. It does irreparable damage to the chasing side. Robin Uthappa has looked to be in good touch so far but hasn’t converted the starts into an innings of substance. He was dropped by Markande in the last over of the powerplay. It was Uthappa’s day as it turned out. He batted beautifully after that one mistimed pull and registered his first fifty of the season. Rana and Uthappa steadied the ship and kept the required run rate under control.
Their 84 run stand was put to an end when Uthappa tried to loft one over long-off and was caught many steps inside the boundary ropes. Nitish was dismissed in the next over. We had two new batsmen at the crease. It was important to capitalize on this opportunity from Mumbai Indians’ point of view. Hardik was in the middle of a beautiful spell. Markande too was brilliant in his second spell. DK and Russel are very capable batsmen and can turn the game on its head in a space of a couple of overs. The target was down to 60 off the last 30 balls. It is very gettable at Wankhede. However, some disciplined death overs bowling made it tough for the batsmen to play the big shots. Russel didn’t fire and DK took it upon himself to finish it off. They fell short by 13 runs in the end.
Mumbai Indians play the Kolkata Knight Riders again on Wednesday, at Eden Gardens. It was their 7th consecutive win against the KKR. They have finally got their combination right and they need to stick to whatever it is that they have been doing good in the last couple of matches. Also, they must realize that they need to do the basics right. You cannot drop dollies at this level. It might have proven costly to them had Uthappa stayed and finished the game for the KKR. However, that was not the case today and they find themselves on the winning side. Here’s hoping that this run of good form continues as we enter the last leg of the tournament.