Narine bamboozles Tendulkar with a beauty; KKR’s agony continues
Mumbai Indians gave a perfect birthday gift to Sachin Tendulkar pulling off a five-wicket win over defending champion Kolkata Knight Riders in a Pepsi IPL VI fixture here at the Eden Gardens on Wednesday.
The visitors rode on a great start provided by Dwayne Smith (62) who set the platform with a gutsy batting sprinkled with some great stroke-making. Skipper Rohit Sharma (34) and Kieron Pollard (33) also contributed in overhauling the target of 160.
Smith scored the lions share in the first 10 overs, contributing 61 out of 79.
He was particularly severe on left-arm spinner Iqbal Abdulla, who turned out for the host for the first time this season. Smith, who hit foursixes against Abdulla and one off Sachithra Senanayake, departed in the 11th over and by then had set his team on course for victory.
Sachin Tendular, who seemed to have hit form against Delhi Daredevils, departed early; West Indian spinner Sunil Narine producing the perfect off-break to bowl him through the gates.
Dinesh Karthik (7), MI’s most prolific scorer, too did not last long. Smith’s departure on the team total of 82 triggered a crisis for the visitor.
Stand in skipper Rohit Sharma came up with another essay of technical accomplishment and hauled his team out of the woods.
He teamed up with the beefy Pollard for a 50-run partnership (36 balls).
The two scored briskly and kept the required run rate in control. Harbhajan Singh produced the perfect finish hitting a big six when the Mumbai Indians needed 10 runs in the last over.
Earlier, KKR, after opting to bat, rode on an explosive start from Yusuf Pathan to score 159 for six. Yusuf, promoted to open, raised a storm after rains pushed back the start of the match by half an hour.
Expecting the pitch to assist spin from the outset, Rohit Sharma, leading the side as Ricky Pointing offered to sit out, put the experienced Harbhajan Singh in.
The gambit backfired as Yusuf smashed three successive boundaries and a huge six while Gautam Gambhir hit another six as the spinner bowled a no-ball bringing in the free-hit option. The first over fetched 26 runs giving KKR the best start in the tournament so far.
Yusuf (19) departed in the second over, unable to continue the momentum against the pace of Mitchell Johnson. The batsman edged an angled delivery and was comfortably caught by Harbhajan. This did not put the brakes on KKR as Gambhir and Jacques Kallis continued to score. The host complied 61 for one at the end of the power-play of six overs.
The visitor got some hold on the action when left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha came in to operate. Both Gambhir (26) and Kallis (37) failed to handle the guiles of Ojha, who utilised the slow Eden wicket, and went back after mistiming some big hits. Ojha returned impressive figures of 4-0-21-2.
Young Yuzvendra Chahal, making his IPL debut, also helped in reining in the host’s batting. KKR could muster only 58 runs in the middle stages (from the 5th to the 15th over).
Manoj Tiwary and Eoin Morgan crafted a late resurrection with some good hitting and brought up a 50-run partnership in 36 balls before the latter departed on 31 after treating Johnson to some explosive strokes in the 18th over.
However, Lasith Malinga provided some cheer to MI by picking up two wickets (Tiwary and Debabrata Das) and conceding just three runs in the final over.