KKR beat MI by 7 wickets in IPL opener
Kolkata: Defending Champions Kolkata Knight Riders beat Mumbai Indians by 7 wickets in the Indian Premier League (IPL) opener at the Eden Gardens,
Continuing his dream run at Eden Gardens, Rohit Sharma smashed an unbeaten 98 to power Mumbai Indians to 168/3 against defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL-8 Twenty20 cricket tournament opener at Eden Gardens.
Put in, the visitors lost two wickets in three balls and looked shaky 37/3 after a fiery spell from Morne Morkel (2/18) but Sharma, who had struck an ODI world record 264 here in November last year, was again in his element.
Sharma dissected the field with elegance and picked Indian speedster Umesh Yadav as his bunny en route to his 22nd IPL half-century.
Sharma’s 98 not out came from 65 balls studded with 12 boundaries and four sixes and was ably supported by New Zealand allrounder Corey Anderson, who remained unbeaten on 55 from 41 balls (4×4, 3×6) in a 131-run undefeated partnership.
After all the hoopla surrounding his action, Knight Riders trump card spinner Sunil Narine did not look in his usual self and returned wicketless with 28 runs from his four overs.
The West Indian looked under pressure and the umpire was seen talking to him during his second spell.
Narine began with a widish full toss and the Mumbai skipper was quick to punish it for an easy boundary.
Sharma had earlier made his intention clear hitting Yadav for three boundaries in the third over.
The star Indian opener was at his explosive best when he smashed three fours and one six as Yadav leaked 21 runs in the 15th over.
It gave the much needed impetus to MI run-rate that went under six after the three quick wickets and some clever captaincy by Gautam Gambhir.
While Yadav was expensive, Morkel was the pick of the lot and Gambhir made the South African speedster run through his quota of four overs from the High Court end.
Morkel dismissed Mumbai Indians star recruit Aaron Finch (5) cheaply when the Australian World Cup winning opener top-edged one to deep square leg and gave a second breakthrough in Ambati Rayudu (0) in his penultimate over.
In between, Gambhir cleverly brought in Shakib Al Hasan who foxed Aditya Tare (7) with his flight as the Mumbai wicketkeeper stepped out but only to mistime it to long off.
But he was severely let down by his fielders.
Andre Russell dropped Corey Anderson on 23, a regulation catch at mid-on, while part-time wicketkeeper Robin Uthappa not only missed an outside edge of Sharma but missed a stumping when the Mumbai Indians skipper was on 70.
Mumbai Indians: 168/3 in 20 overs
(Rohit Sharma 98 not out, Corey Anderson 55 not out; Morne Morkel 4-18)
Kolkata Knight Riders: 170/3 out in 18.3 overs
(Gautam Gambhir 57, Manish Pandey 40, Suryakumar Yadav 46 not out; Harbhajan Singh 1-38).
Player of the match – M Morkel (Kolkata Knight Riders)