Mumbai Indians defended 170 with ease, spinners Pragyan Ojha (two for 23) and Harbhajan Singh (three for 27) pulling the rug from under Kolkata Knight Riders for a comfortable 65-run win — its eighth in IPL-VI — here on Tuesday.

Mitchell Johnson (two for 13) played his part, as did Abu Nechim and Lasith Malinga with one wicket each at the Wankhede.

MI’s defence got an early boost when Gambhir erred against Johnson. Bisla, dropped by Harbhajan on zero, lost his patience and stepped out to Ojha. He missed and was stumped. The left-arm spinner then induced Yusuf Pathan into a swipe and the inside edge bounced onto the stumps.

KKR then fell further when Eoin Morgan slashed at Nechim and was caught low by a diving Rohit Sharma. Harbhajan then gestured the visitors’ fans into silence after dismissing Debabrata Das.

Dinesh Karthik’s presence of mind when collecting a throw resulted in Ryan McLaren’s exit.

Earlier, the home openers got off to a queer start. Dwayne Smith played out a maiden against L. Balaji and then stepped out for two straight drives to McLaren, whose second over cost 20 runs as Tendulkar expressed intent with attacking strokes. MI cruised to 41 in the Power Play overs. The burly West Indian got into a tangle against Abdulla’s slow left-arm when play resumed after an 18-minute break due to a problem with the floodlights.

Tendulkar created scoring opportunities against all bowlers. A pulled four to mid-wicket off Kallis, a slog over Abdulla’s head and flick over leg slip stood out. He lost his wicket trying to slog Rajat Bhatia over fine-leg and leaving his leg-stump exposed.

MI was on course for a huge score and the heat was on the bowlers when three fielding efforts gave KKR a toe-hold. Eoin Morgan’s awareness of space on the ropes at square-leg removed Rohit Sharma. The MI captain swung and connected, the fielder tracked the ball, pouched it easily but finding his body going over the line, threw it up and completed the catch on his second attempt after stepping back into play.

Karthik pulled MI out of the hole with big shots towards the close his unbeaten 34 coming off 18 balls.

More In: Ipl 2013 | Cricket | Sport