Zeenews Sports Bureau
Mumbai: Gautam Gambhir mastered his resources cleverly to successfully defend a low total of 140 against Mumbai Indians in a crucial Indian Premier League match at the Wankhede stadium on Wednesday.
“Mysterious” spinner Sunil Narine, with a figure of 3.1-0-15-4, played a vital role in the Mumbai batting demolition that led to a thrilling Kolkata win, almost assuring them of a play-off berth. Mumbai Indians were bundled out for 108 in 19.1 overs, five short of their quota of 20 overs. With this performance Narine has moved to the top of the wicket-takers' table.
Mumbai Indians were off to a jittery start but were steady until the tenth over. However, things took an ugly turn after Narine cleaned up Sachin Tendulkar with a delivery that left the master blaster clueless. Mumbai Indians never could arrest their slide since then, as they lost their batsmen at regular intervals.
For the Kolkatan side, each bowler did his bit in the victory, with Balaji being the most economical. He gave away just 11 runs and claimed two wickets in his quota of four overs. Kallis showed his prowess in the end after leaking runs in the initial stage and send back dangerous Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Smith in consecutive balls. Shakib Al Hasan and Iqbal Abdulla took one each.
Earlier, Mumbai captain Harbhajan read the conditions ‘right’, or so it seemed initially, and opted to bowl first. Their bowlers restricted Kolkata Knight Riders to 140/7 in 20 overs. He packed his side with pace bowlers in complete contrast to his Kolkatan counterpart, who opted for a spin-heavy side. However, it worked for them in the end.
RP Singh caused the early damage after he trapped McCullum in front of the wicket in the second over of the innings. He followed it up with another wicket in the next ball when Kallis completely missed the line and stumps off a good length delivery on the off stump. Kolkata were in dire straits right at the start. Moreover, Mumbai tightened the noose around the KKR batting, their run scoring moved along at a snail's pace. After the mandatory powerplay they managed just 32 runs with the loss of two wickets.
Kolkata batsmen failed to bring about any worthy partnership as their highest was the 45-run partnership between Shakib and Manoj Tiwary for the fourth wicket. KKR’s captain Gautam Gambhir also failed with the bat after he was dismissed for 27, scored out of 23 balls. The only remarkable performance from the Kolkatan side came from Manoj Tiwary who managed a 43-ball 41.
Apart from RP Singh, Munaf Patel, Malinga, Pollard and Smith found themselves on the wicket-takers' list of taking one wicket apiece.