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First victory for Mumbai Indians

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EARLY STRIKE: Man-of-the-Match Sanath Jayasuriya, who picked up three wickets, is congratulated by Mumbai Indians’ skipper Shaun Pollock.
EARLY STRIKE: Man-of-the-Match Sanath Jayasuriya, who picked up three wickets, is congratulated by Mumbai Indians’ skipper Shaun Pollock.

S. Sabanayakan

Visitors down Kolkata Knight Riders with a better game plan

KOLKATA: Finally, Mumbai Indians tasted victory in the DLF-Indian Premier League.

Without Sachin Tendulkar and making three changes, Mumbai Indians showed better motivation and had a better game plan as it chalked up its seven-wicket victory over the Sourav Ganguly-led Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens here on Tuesday.

Mumbai Indians’ batting was in complete contrast to that of Knight Riders, which chose to bat first. Despite losing three early wickets, Mumbai Indians’ fourth-wicket pair of Robin Uthappa and Dwayne Bravo mixed controlled aggression with caution to completely take the match away from the home side.

A revelation

It was indeed a revelation to see the two produce the winning unbeaten 113-run partnership, a championship record. Coming together at 25 for three in 4.1 overs, Uthappa and Bravo dominated the show to silence the near-capacity crowd.

The teams were almost equal at the end of the 11th over, but Bravo turned the match in the 12th over bowled by left-arm spinner Murali Kartik. Bravo plundered two boundaries and a six, the over yielding 15 runs.

In an unhurried fashion the two went about gathering runs despite Ganguly making a number of bowling changes. The two added 50 off 43 balls and 100 off 74 balls. Bravo batted outstandingly for his unbeaten 64 in 53 balls with the aid of eight fours and a six.

The turning point of the match was when Debabrata Das dropped Uthappa, on five then, at the total of three for 38.

Sanath Jayasuriya was adjudged Man of the Match.

Set a target of 138 for victory, Mumbai Indians’ innings began on a promising note with openers Ajinkya Rahane and Jayasuriya negotiating the new ball with élan. The Sri Lankan started in fine fashion picking up a four and a six off Ishant Sharma’s first over. Kolkata Knight Riders earned success in the next over when Ajit Agarkar had Rahane taken at mid-on.

Jayasuriya (18, 10b, 3x4,1x6) found Sharma at his express best and saw his off-stump cart-wheeling at the total of 25 and young Manish Pandey too was bowled by Ashok Dinda for no score.

Inspired attack

Earlier, Kolkata Knight Riders was restricted to 137 for eight by an inspired Mumbai Indians bowling attack.

Kolkata Knight Riders reached a score of respectability thanks to Laxmi Ratan Shukla’s 40 (22b, 4x4, 2x6) and a punishing 29 by Debabrata Das.

Stand-in captain Shaun Pollock triggered the Knight Riders’ collapse picking up two wickets in the first over. Rival skipper Sourav Ganguly, after pulling the bowler for four, guided the next ball into the safe hands of Sanath Jayasuriya at gully. A run later, Brendon McCullum was adjudged leg before by umpire A.V. Jayaprakash, though the ball seemed to be missing leg stump.

The Kolkata outfit, in a way, failed to get out of this situation despite Debabrata Das, playing his first game, coming up with a cameo scoring 29 runs off 20 balls with five fours and one six. He and Ricky Ponting put on 34 runs for the third wicket. Das, who seemed aggression personified, was taken at point by Robin Uthappa bringing to an end a partnership which appeared to be threatening.

David Hussey and Ponting added another 34 runs for the fourth wicket.

Accurate attack

The two had to negotiate an accurate attack. The departure of David Hussey for 17, taken at long-on by Aashish Nehra off Jayasuriya halted Knight Riders’ progress as wickets began to fall quickly.

Mohammad Hafeez called for a single and hesitated, sending Ponting back to the pavilion and two balls later he himself was caught behind off Jayasuriya.

Once again it was left to Laxmi Ratan Shukla to come up with some lusty hitting. He and Murali Kartik added 41 valuable runs for the eighth wicket to bring respectability to the total.

Shukla hit four boundaries and two sixes in his 22-ball innings. Jayasuirya was the most successful bowler for Mumbai Indians with a haul of three for 14 in four overs, of which one was a maiden.

Sachin Tendulkar decided not to play this match as well. Wicketkeeper Pinal Shah, mediumpacer Dilhara Fernando and spinner Manish Pandey replaced Luke Ronchi, Mussavir Khote and Siddharth Chitnis.

Knight Riders too made a change inducting Debabrata Das in place of Wriddhiman Saha.

The scores:

Kolkata Knight Riders: B. McCullum lbw b Pollock 1, S. Ganguly c Jayasuriya b Pollock 4, R. Ponting (run out) 19, D. Das c Uthappa b Bravo 29, D. Hussey c Nehra b Jayasuriya 17, Md. Hafeez c Shah b Jayasuriya 2, L.R. Shukla (not out) 40, A. Agarkar c Nehra b Jayasuriya 2, M. Kartik c Jayasuriya b Fernando 10, I. Sharma (not out) 0; Extras (b-1, lb-5, w-7): 13. Total (for eight wickets in 20 overs): 137.

Fall of wickets: 1-5, 2-6, 3-40, 4-74, 5-77, 6-77, 7-90, 8-131

Mumbai Indians bowling: Pollock 4-0-27-2, Nehra 1-0-9-0, Fernando 4-0-41-1, Kulkurni 3-0-15-0, Bravo 4-0-25-1, Jayasuriya 4-1-14-3.

Mumbai Indians: A. Rahane c Hussey b Agarkar 4, S. Jayasuriya b Sharma 18, M. Pandey b Dinda 0, R. Uthappa (not out) 37, D. Bravo (not out) 64; Extras (lb-5, w-9, nb-1): 15. Total (for three wickets in 18.4 overs): 138.

Fall of wickets: 1-16, 2-25, 3-25.

Kolkata Knight Riders bowling: Agarkar 4-0-23-1, Sharma 3.4-0-33-1, Dinda 4-0-12-1, Kartik 3-0-24-0, Hafeez 1-0-16-0, Ganguly 2-0-14-0, Shukla 1-0-11-0.

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