Mumbai Indians 210 for 6 (Kishan 62, Rohit 36, Chawla 3-48) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 108 (Lynn 21, Krunal 2-12, Hardik 2-16) by 102 runs
It has been 1128 days since Kolkata Knight Riders last beat Mumbai Indians, and that streak could continue until 2019 after the visitors destroyed their hosts by 102 runs at Eden Gardens.
The result took Mumbai into the top four for the first time this IPL season, in firm contention for a playoff spot. KKR, on the other hand, slid to fifth after spending considerable time in the top half of the league.
Mumbai were powered by Ishan Kishan‘s blazing half-century before their bowlers applied an age-old tactic of bowling short to dismember the KKR batting line-up. Chasing 211, KKR were all out for their lowest total at home – 108; while Mumbai completed their second largest victory in terms of runs.
For the third year in a row, Mumbai beat KKR both home and away during the league phase of the IPL.
Kishan changes the game
He walked in during the first time-out, with Mumbai 62 for 2 in nine overs, and soon hit a six and three fours off wristspinners Kuldeep Yadav and Piyush Chawla. With Kishan racing to 21 off 9 balls, Mumbai were suddenly not dependent on Rohit Sharma for acceleration.
Kishan spared neither pace nor spin, but he took particular liking to Kuldeep’s loopy left-arm. In the 14th over, Kishan played different shots to send four consecutive balls over the boundary, and brought up his half-century off 17 balls, the joint quickest for a Mumbai batsman.
In the next over, Kishan fell in the most Kishan-like manner. After sending Sunil Narine into the stands at midwicket, he swept once again – looking for his seventh six – but found Robin Uthappa at deep backward square-leg. By the time Kishan fell for a 21-ball 62, Mumbai’s score had swollen by 82 runs in just 5.4 overs.
With a platform for a big total, Ben Cutting came out to bat in the 19th over and carried on from where Kishan had left off. He smacked his second ball for six over long-on before taking 16 off the final over’s first three balls. Krunal Pandya ended Mumbai’s innings with a six – making it 22 runs off Chawla’s last over – and took the score to 210.
KKR’s top order self-destructs
Narine was back opening for KKR and he smashed Mitchell McClenaghan over his head first ball. But McClenaghan got his revenge immediately, with a short and fast delivery that cramped Narine for room.
A brief recovery followed, with Chris Lynn and Uthappa making use of Powerplay restrictions, but KKR were derailed in the fourth over when Lynn attempted a suicidal run. Uthappa had sliced the ball to cover point off the front foot, but Lynn thought he wanted the run. Lynn sprinted halfway down the pitch – only to be sent back – and with that, KKR had lost both openers.
KKR could not afford to slow down and that approach had Uthappa holing out to deep midwicket. Andre Russell slapped Hardik Pandya straight to cover in the eighth over, but it was the two wickets in the tenth over, also from Hardik, that all but ended KKR’s challenge.
The first ball of that over was steered by Nitish Rana to point, but a miscommunication with his captain sent Dinesh Karthik back for 5. Rana sliced the next ball to deep midwicket and KKR were reeling at 67 for 6 before the 10th over had ended.
Mumbai’s short-ball plan
In their previous game against KKR, Mumbai’s quicks bowled 69% of their deliveries either short or back of a length, and earned three wickets at an economy of 7.75. So, why change a winning tactic?
They used more short stuff at Eden Gardens and earned four wickets to those lengths. Narine, Russell, Rana and Rinku Singh were all troubled and dismissed either fending or slogging at such deliveries. In all, Mumbai bowled 46 short balls out of 109 deliveries in KKR’s innings, at an economy of just 6.91. In contrast, KKR’s short balls went for 10 per over and earned them no wickets.
Sreshth Shah is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.