MI zoom to fourth spot with 102-run win

Third straight win, fourth spot on the points table, fifth victory of the season and seventh on the trot against Kolkata Knight Riders! That’s what happened at the Eden Gardens on Wednesday. For the record, Mumbai Indians won by a whopping 102 runs. It was an awesome all-round display and helped us register our most comprehensive of the season.

First, Ishan Kishan hit a buccaneering 21-ball 62 as we finished with 210/4, our highest total of the season. Then, our bowling unit combined wonderfully well to bowl the host team out for just 108 in 18.1 overs. The win took our head-to-head record against KKR to 18-5.

Each of the six bowlers employed by Rohit Sharma picked up a wicket each as no KKR batsman scored more than 21 runs. In fact, five batsmen were dismissed for single-digit scores as MI continued their phenomenal fightback from the abyss. Our net run-rate now is a brilliant 0.529, the best among all teams.

Hardik Pandya picked up 2/16 to take his tally to 16 this season. He is now the joint-highest wicket-taker along with Andrew Tye of Kings XI Punjab. Krunal Pandya picked up the last wicket to finish with 2/12. Mitchell McClenaghan, Jasprit Bumrah, Mayank Markande and Ben Cutting got a wicket each. There were two run-outs too.

Earlier, Kishan wrested back the initiative by smashing the joint-fastest half-century by an MI batsman as we finished with a whopping 210/6. Kishan put up a spectacular display of batting, hitting six sixes and five fours en route to a 21-ball 62. His trike-rate was a mind-numbing 295.23.

Kishan, who walked in at the fall of Suryakumar Yadav with the scoreboard reading 62/2 at the end of the ninth over, was at the crease for just 5.4 overs. By the time he was caught by Robin Uthappa at the deep square-leg fence, he had taken MI to 144/3 with more than five overs left. His stand with skipper Sharma was worth 82 off just 34 balls. Sharma, who played a distant second fiddle in the partnership, was delighted with the youngster’s wonderful batting as were all of us. The skipper made 36 off 31 before becoming Prasidh Krishna’s maiden wicket in the VIVO IPL. He fell in the 19th over.

Cutting provided the final flourish with a nine-ball 24 as MI crossed the 200-run barrier for the second time in the season. The Aussie hit Piyush Chawla for two monstrous sixes and a four in the last over before being smartly caught by Andre Russell inches from the boundary line. Krunal pulled the last ball for another six as the innings ended on a high. In all, we hit 14 sixes and 16 fours.

Kishan’s knock was one for the ages. Walking in at No. 4, his first scoring shot was a maximum off Kuldeep Yadav. A ball before he stepped out to the chinaman bowler, Kishan was beaten all ends up by one that went straight through. That episode could have dented any batsman’s confidence but Kishan didn’t let that any of it affect him.

In the next over, he collected three fours off Chawla. The last of those fours was the best because Kishan managed to pull the ball between deep square-leg and fine-leg. Fifteen runs came off the 13th over bowled by Krishna, with Sharma helping himself to a couple of fours. Kishan hit the last ball of the over for a boundary to take his tally to 32 for the night.

The next over, bowled by Yadav, was the most productive of the innings. Sharma defended the first and took a single off the second to get Kishan back on strike. And what the southpaw do? Well, he went 6, 6, 6, 6 to leave the packed house delirious.

Kishan went down on his knee and swept the third ball over deep-square leg. Yadav bowled the next ball outside off, but Kishan employed the slog to send it past the deep mid-wicket fence. Kishan brooght up his fifty off the next by stepping out and flat-batting the ball over long-on. Sharma rushed to his partner, gave him a nice hug and patted the hero on the helmet with his bat. Kishan wasn’t done. He walked across the stumps and whipped the last ball over deep mid-wicket for his fifth six of the night. That shot was all about power and had shades of MS Dhoni’s patented helicopter shot. In the next over, Kishan hit Sunil Narine for his sixth six before falling on the next delivery. In all, he hit 31 runs off the seven times he faced Yadav. His strike-rate in this duel was 442.85.

Yadav and Evin Lewis added 46 runs for the opening wicket after Dinesh Karthik put MI in. The wicket aided swing and the batsmen found run-making difficult initially. Yadav made 36 off 31 to become the first uncapped player this season to amass 400-plus runs. He fit five fours and a six before Chawla had him caught at deep midwicket.

It was Chawla who got the first wicket, too, by getting rid of Evin Lewis for 18 off 13. Lewis, who was dropped on 16, couldn’t cash in on his luck. In fact, he was dismissed in bizarre fashion. Chawla bowled a nothing delivery on middle and leg. Lewis shaped himself up for the pull but the ball the ball hit his thigh and then took the back of the bat before looping to short third-man.

Sharma, too, live a charmed life. When on eight, his drive went over Yadav’s outstretched hands. And when he was batting on 10, Nitish Rana put down a sitter at backward point.

Umpire KN Ananthapadmanabhan committed a howler by calling a no-ball off Tom Curran in the 16th over. It was a poor call because the bowler’s foot was well behind the line. Fortunately for KKR, the resultant free-hit cost just a single.

MI made 47 runs in the Powerplay. The next four overs fetched 25 runs. Overs 11 to 15 were extremely productive thanks to Kishan as we got to 145/3. And the last five overs brought a whopping 65 runs.

The boys are all set to fly back home. We take on Rajasthan Royals at the Wankhede on Sunday, May 13.

Brief Scores: Mumbai Indians 210/4 in 20 overs (Suryakumar Yadav 36, Evin Lewis 18, Rohit Sharma 36, Ishan Kishan 62, Hardik Pandya 19, Ben Cutting 24) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 108 in 18.1 overs (Chris Lynn 21, Robin Uthappa 14, Nitish Rana 21, Tom Curran 18; Mitchell McClenaghan 1/18, Krunal Pandya 2/12, Jasprit Bumrah 1/17, Hardik Pandya 2/16, Mayank Markande 1/26, Ben Cutting 1/12) by 102 runs.