Vivo IPL 2017
Match 7 report: Mumbai Indians vs Kolkata Knight Riders at Wankhede Stadium
In a nutshell
After wheezing to 178 on a flat Mumbai pitch, the Kolkata Knight Riders failed to shut down a lower order resurgence led by Nitish Rana and lost the match with a ball, and 4 wickets to spare.
How it unfolded
After losing the toss, and being sent in to bat, a confident Kolkata batting line-up looked slightly off colour. A strong start in the powerplay allowed the KNight Risers to cruise to 44 off 4.2 overs, before Gambhir swept a Krunal Pandya off break to square leg to get out for 19 (13 balls). Robin Uthappa followed suit, 3 balls later to fall to a slog to deep midwicket, where Krunal’s brother, Hardik, completed the catch. Chris Lynn fell 3 overs later, hitting across the line to Jasprit Bumrah and was caught plumb in front. From then on, it was the Manish Pandey show. While wickets fell around him, he hit the ball cleanly despite the expert death bowling the Mumbai Indians boast. He found himself without at the other end, with Yusuf Pathan falling for 6 off Krunal Pandya, Suryakumar Yadav for 17 off Malinga and Sunil Narine off the last ball to Mitchell McClenaghan. He brought the Knight Riders to a slightly under-par first innings score at arguably the best chasing wicket in the world by contributing an unbeaten 81 off 47 balls. 23 runs came off the 20th over of the innings, partially a sign of the ill-effects of dew on bowlers’ lengths. The Knight Riders would have gone to the pavilion rueing the poor top-order batting performance, but holding the momentum going into the latter half of the game.
A brisk opening partnership gave the Indians a good start, with a wicketless powerplay. Then, 3 wickets in 3 overs allowed the Knight Riders to gain the upper hand. Parthiv Patel got out for 30, looking to sweep off Kuldeep Yadav, and 2 poor LBW decisions sent Jos Buttler (28 off 22) and Rohit Sharma (2 off 6) back to the dressing room off an Ankit Rajpoot inswinging full-toss that was going down leg, and a Sunil Narine off-break that caught a huge inside edge, respectively. Taking out Mumbai’s 3 best batsmen left them struggling in a chase heralded by inexperienced batsmen Nitish Rana and Krunal Pandya. Krunal Pandya was caught behind for 11 off 6 to a Rajpoot ball down the leg-side. The chase was continued by an out of sorts Kieron Pollard who only managed a run-a-ball 17 runs, leaving the Indians needing 60 off 23 balls. Rana and Hardik Pandya then led a spirited comeback, with assistance from the dewy outfield, which prevented the bowlers from gripping the ball. Rana fell to Ankit Rajpoot for 50 off 29 balls, caught off a low full-toss at point. Despite his loss, Mumbai scored 19 runs off the 18th and 19th overs, leaving them 11 to win off the last over. Hardik Pandya reduced the equation to 9 off 5, through 2 leg-byes in the fine-leg region. He then crunched a full ball to long leg, which slipped through the fielder’s legs to give the Mumbai Indians the upper hand. A dropped catch and a swat to the fine leg boundary gave Mumbai the win with a ball to spare, Hardik Pandya ending with 29* off 11 balls.
Where the game was won
Hardik Pandya’s quickfire 29 off 11 balls turned the tide on a match that was headed the Knight Rider’s way. His hard hitting was mixed with deft laps and scoops over the keeper’s head. His impeccable form with the bat, in two games in a row is a sign of his progress as a limited overs player. He will be an integral part of India’s campaign to retain the Champions Trophy.
Nitish Rana is an excellent find for the Mumbai Indians. His 50 off 29 showed great maturity and poise for an uncapped 23 year old. He took charge in a dire situation while still maintaining the run rate required against a world class attack. If his good form continues, he will be one to look out for the future.
The dew, a chasing team’s 12th man at the Wankhede made ground fielding, bowling and even catching extremely tricky. The ball came onto the bat and the full-tosses were abundant, despite an extremely potent Knight Riders attack. The 20th over was perhaps the worst-affected, with a dropped catch, where deep midwicket slipped in his approach to the ball, as well as a horrific misfield in the outfield costing Kolkata the game.
Krunal Pandya’s 3-fer prevented the strong KKR batting line-up from getting away from Mumbai. He took wickets at important times and picked up 3 dangerous batsmen in Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa and Yusuf Pathan with his skiddy off breaks. KKR’s modest total (by Wankhede standards) made for an exciting finish, as it was just within reach, and Krunal’s tight bowling was a primary cause for it
While Mumbai won this match and were ill-affected by 2 poor umpiring decisions, they were losing most of the game. The majority of their bowlers looked pretty good, but Mitchell McClenaghan’s poor economy rate is a concern. The home advantage played a massive part in their win, being assisted by the dew and flat track in their chase of 178. They haven’t looked their best so far, and yesterday’s win was far from convincing. They will need to step up their game to remain competitive in this tournament.
For the Kolkata Knight Riders, they didn’t do much wrong. Their batting has looked slightly permeable to spin bowling, especially the skiddy variety, but despite their hiccups, they still got to 178. Their bowling in the death was poor, but that has more to do with the strange onset of grass in Mumbai’s flagship arena in the late evening then poor bowling. They will need to work on their fielding though, as fielding mistakes cost them the match in the final over.
What this means for the tournament
Both Mumbai and Kolkata have a win and a loss apiece, with mixed team outings in their two games. It’s still early days in the tournament, but the Mumbai KKR rivalry is sure to draw huge crowds in the Eden Gardens leg of their match-up. Mumbai are to face the powerful Sunrisers Hyderabad at home next, and Kolkata will go up against the Kings XI Punjab next at home. Both should be good match-ups.
Vedant Jain is a contributor at CricMetric. For any queries or information, email firstname.lastname@example.org