Rohit Sharma and Mumbai Indians continued to enjoy their propitious relationship with Eden Gardens as the former summoned another winning knock to snuff out home favourite Kolkata Knight Riders by six wickets and five balls to spare. Sharma scored an unbeaten 84 to remain the mainstay in the successful run chase after KKR posted a challenging 187 for five after being asked to bat first by the visitor.
Rohit Sharma, who could manage just seven as MI made losing start at home against Rising Pune Supergiants, was a transformed man arriving in his favourite venue and gave adequate reason to the claim with the outstanding performance that came in 54 balls with 10 boundaries and a big six. Sharma, who had aggregated a fantastic 251 runs in the previous four innings at Eden, shared two big partnerships – 53 runs for the opening stand with Parthiv Patel (23) and 66 runs for the fourth wicket with Jos Butler (41) – to see defending champion Mumbai Indians safely across the target and pick up the first win of the season in the process.
Apart from Sharma’s fantastic performance, New Zealand all-rounder Mitchell McClenaghan (20) provided the pyrotechnics hitting three sixes in his eight-ball stay. McClenaghan, who was promoted up the order after Patel’s dismissal, added the adrenalin and opened the scope for a fantastic win for Mumbai Indians.
Manish Pandey and Russell Arnold provided the high octane in the run compilation process while captain Gautam Gambhir held the helm to see Knight Riders reach a strong 187 for five in the allotted 20 overs. Robin Uthappa, who played a responsible knock of 35 in the first outing against Delhi Daredevils, departed early mistiming an intended pull on a short delivery from the left-arm pacer McClenaghan. West Indian all-rounder Keiron Pollard took an easy catch at cover to inflict an early damage on the host, which did not appear to be in a strong position at the moment.
The wicket in the fourth over could have derailed the KKR innings but Manish Pandey had different ideas and stepped on the acceleration process. Pandey hit three sixes and as many boundaries in his stay of 29 balls. Pandey’s 52 came handy for KKR which had reached 121 by the time he departed in the 14th over unable to read a clever top-spin from the wily Harbhajan Singh.
Russell justified his status as the team’s big hitter firing four huge sixes that propelled the KKR run rate to a greater height. Russell looked poised at getting KKR to a bigger score but perished in the attempt to hit another one out of the park. Russell, who scored 36 off 17 balls (1x4, 4x6) dragged a rising delivery from McClenaghan on the stumps. Gambhir, who got two lives in his patient 64 (52b, 4x4, 1x6) could not stay till the finish and the host failed to reach 200 which looked probable at one moment.
KKR 187/5 (20.0 Ovs)
MI 188/4 (19.1 Ovs)
Mumbai Indians won by 6 wkts
PLAYER OF THE MATCH:- Rohit Sharma