Mumbai: Gautam Gambhir continued his purple patch to lead Kolkata Knight Riders to 174/5 against Mumbai Indians in their IPL game at the Wankhede stadium on Thursday. The visitors’ skipper scored 45-ball 59 (6×4, 1×6) — his third half century in six games — to set the platform for Andre Russell and Yusuf Pathan to unleash big hitting.
In reply, Mumbai Indians were 116 for 4 in 14 overs when this edition went to bed. Captain Rohit Sharma was batting on 59 and Kieron Pollard was giving him company with 1. Rohit had slammed seven boundaries and two sixes in his 40-ball innings until then. For KKR, Sunil Narine had taken two wickets.
Earlier, Gambhir shared 69 runs for the opening wicket with Robin Uthappa 36 (20b, 1×4, 2×6) and then added 44 runs with Suryakumar Yadav for the third wicket. However, Mumbai Indians bowlers pulled things back in the middle to ensure that they don’t have to chase anything in excess of 180.
Both the teams wanted to bowl first but Rohit Sharma called it right. However there was no movement early in the piece like the previous games here and KKR openers Gambhir and Uthappa made merry. Mitchell McClenaghan (1/33) dropped a miscued skier of his own bowling when Gambhir was on eight.
The southpaw responded with two boundaries of Tim Southee (2/38) in the next over. Uthappa also took liking for the batting wicket to give KKR a quick start of 59/0 in powerplays with Gambhir.
Uthappa was handed a reprieve on 35 after he survived a stumping chance of Harbhajan (1/32) but he couldn’t make the most of it, holing out to Kieron Pollard at long on in the same over off a full toss. Shakib Al Hasan (6) came and went to a short ball from Hardik Pandya as the hosts brought some control.
Gambhir smashed his fifty in 39 balls with a six and four from Krunal to get things moving after a brief lull in the middle overs. McClenaghan, brought back into attack, struck immediately to dismiss Gambhir who mistimed one straight to Pollard at mid off after the West Indian fielder had almost caught him short of crease the previous ball. Southee dismissed Suryakumar to peg back the visitors to 130/4 in 16 overs.
Russell 22 (16b, 3×4) hit Bumrah for three boundaries in the 17th over to bring life again to the KKR innings but he was castled by Southee in the next over. Yusuf Pathan 19 (8b, 4×4) played a cameo but his partner Chris Lynn playing his first game in this tournament struggled with run-a-ball 10.
Southee dropped consecutive catches at deep square leg as Lynn and Pathan got lucky with McClenaghan the unlucky bowler on three occasions during the innings.
The visitors had strengthened their batting by including Australian Chris Lynn in place of pacer Morne Morkel and included left arm pacer Jaydev Unadkat which meant leg-spinner Piyush Chawla sat out. The hosts remained unchanged.