Reigning champions Mumbai Indians on Wednesday strolled to a 49-run win over Kolkata Knight Riders to record their first ever win in the United Arab Emirates. Chasing a target of 196, KKR were restricted to 146/9 by a clinical MI bowling attack at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
KKR looked to have an outside chance until the 16th over of the match in which Jasprit Bumrah (2/32) dismissed dangermen Andre Russell (11) and Eoin Morgan (16). KKR needed as many as 96 runs from 30 balls at the start of the over, but Russell and Morgan’s reputation for big hits kept the two-time champions’ hopes alive. Bumrah knocked off Russell’s leg stump with the very first ball of the over and then got Morgan to edge the fourth ball to the wicket-keeper.
Bumrah’s numbers were spoilt by Pat Cummins (33), who hit four sixes in the 18th over that he bowled. He ended with figures of 2/32 while Trent Boult (2/30), James Pattinson (2/25) and Rahul Chahar (2/26) all took two wickets each.
Earlier the Mumbai Indians (MI) captain Rohit Sharma took the route back to his lazy elegance with a masterful 80 off 54 balls that helped his team to a competitive 195/5 in 20 overs.
Rohit’s innings was punctuated by three fours and six sixes as he nearly played through the innings. Like most players in the IPL, he has hardly played any cricket this year due to Covid pandemic. He is, however, coming into the tournament with a longer break than most of his Indian team mates. Rohit has been away from the sport as a calf injury forced him to abandon India’s tour of New Zealand in February.
He had scored just 12 in MI’s first match of the season against Chennai Super Kings on Saturday. Against KKR, he, along with Suryakumar Yadav, helped MI get over the early dismissal of his opening partner Quinton de Kock and give the four-time champions a dominant start.
The 33-year-old elegant right-hander feasted on a number of short deliveries from a lacklustre KKR bowling attack and made the most of those deliveries. Five of his nine boundary hits came off his trademark pull shot which he used whenever a short pitched delivery was directed at him.
At one stage, during the middle overs, it seemed as if Rohit would complete his second century in the IPL. But the sultry Abu Dhabi weather caught up with him and he was visibly exhausted by the time his innings came to an end. He fell to Shivam Mavi, holing out at long-on while trying to hit a full toss bowled outside the off-stump.
KKR managed to restrict MI in the last two overs after Rohit’s dismissal, with the four-time champions otherwise looking set to score more than 200 runs for much of the innings.
Brief scores: MI 195/5 in 20 overs (Rohit Sharma 80, Suryakumar Yadav 47; Shivam Mavi 2/32) beat KKR 146/9 in 20 overs (Pat Cummins 33, Dinesh Karthik 30; James Pattinson 2/25) by 39 runs.
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