Sanath Jayasuriya played power-packed shots for Mumbai Indians against Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 2008 © AFP (File Photo)
On May 16, 2008, Mumbai Indians bundled out Kolkata Knight Riders for a lowly 67 in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2008. Wankhede Stadium witnessed the then lowest total in its relatively young history. The crowd at the historic stadium was vociferous in support of the team led by Sachin Tendulkar. Shrikant Shankar looks back at a phenomenal IPL match, where Shaun Pollock starred for Mumbai Indians.
Mumbai Indians entered Match 38 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2008 season with four losses and five wins. Those five wins were on the trot. Their opposition team was Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). They had won five matches and lost four. Kolkata were on a three-match winning streak. Clearly, both teams were on a run and confidence must have been high. The aim was to finish in the top four, which was still possible for both teams. The Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai was the venue for the match being played on May 16.
Sachin Tendulkar was only playing his second match in that IPL after missing the first eight matches due to an injury. Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly walked out into the middle and it was Tendulkar who won the toss and elected to field. The crowd was just settling into the stadium. But there was a buzz and excitement as the IPL was new to everyone. There was a roar of approval, as Tendulkar led Mumbai out on the field. Salman Butt and Akash Chopra opened the batting for Kolkata. Shaun Pollock was given the new ball.
Butt opened the scoring with a four back over Pollock’s head. Ashish Nehra shared the new ball with Pollock. The left-handed seamer bowled a full and wide delivery and Butt struck the ball over cover for the first six of the innings. It was a good start for Kolkata considering they were playing in front of a hostile atmosphere. Every run scored was jeered. Every time the ball beat the bat, there were loud cheers. It was constant throughout the match. Such an atmosphere can only be present at the Wankhede Stadium, especially when their favourite Tendulkar is playing.
Pollock then sent the home crowd into rapture in the third over. Pollock pitched one around off-stump and Butt tried to work it away on the leg side. He closed the face of the bat and the ball took a leading edge to none other than Tendulkar at first slip. Butt was dismissed for 13 runs off 13 deliveries. Ganguly walked out to bat to loud jeers. Pollock bowled a bouncer first up and Ganguly fended it off towards point. Chopra set off for a quick single, but Ganguly was not interested. Robin Uthappa threw to Pollock, who knocked off the bails. Chopra was out for one run.
In the fifth over, Pollock bowled a good length delivery and the ball just moved slightly away. David Hussey tried to drive on the up and edged it to wicketkeeper Yogesh Takawale. Hussey was out for two runs and Kolkata were at 21 for three. Tendulkar decided to finish Pollock’s full quota of overs in one go. And the move paid off. The South African again pitched one on a good length outside off-stump and the ball moved away. Mohammad Hafeez was squared up and edged the ball to Uthappa at second slip. Hafeez was dismissed for five. Pollock finished his quota of overs with figures of three for 12. Pollock got a standing ovation from the Wankhede crowd as he walked to field in the deep after his spell.
Kolkata’s troubles were not over though, as Dwayne Bravo dismissed Wriddhiman Saha for one run. Saha edged a rising delivery to Tendulkar at first slip. Ganguly then backed away and hammered a length delivery from Nehra down the ground for a four. Right-arm medium-fast bowler, Rohan Raje then bowled Laxmi Shukla for a duck on the first delivery of the 10th over. Kolkata had lost six wickets for only 35 runs. Local boy Ajit Agarkar walked out to bat. The Wankhede crowd jeered him as well, as he was playing against Mumbai.
Agarkar slammed two fours back-to-back during the first two deliveries he faced. Ganguly then cut a short and wide delivery from Raje behind point for a four. That brought up Kolkata’s 50. But Ganguly was not to rescue Kolkata, as the right-arm medium bowler Dominic Thornely from Australia dismissed him. Thornely bowled a slower delivery that bounced a bit extra. Ganguly tried to guide the ball towards third-man, but edged it to Takawale. The wicketkeeper was standing right up to the stumps and fumbled at the first attempt, but caught at the second go. Ganguly was out for 15 runs off 20 deliveries with two fours.
Things were to get more difficult for Kolkata. Shoaib Akthar walked out to bat and received the loudest jeers from the crowd. Bravo then found the outside edge of Agarkar’s bat and Tendulkar caught at first slip. Agarkar was dismissed for 15 runs off 14 deliveries with two fours as well. Ishant Sharma struck the first delivery he faced for a four through extra-cover. Thornely then held a catch back from Ishant in the 15th over he was out for four runs. Akthar then mishit one from Raje to Tendulkar at mid-wicket. He was out for two runs and Kolkata were bundled out for 67 in only 15.2 overs. At that time, this was the lowest total in IPL history.
Sanath Jayasuriya and Tendulkar began Mumbai’s run-chase. Akthar bowled the first over. The first delivery was short and Jayasuriya edged his pull shot. Chopra got his hand to it at first slip, but could not hold on. The ball raced away for a four towards third-man. Tendulkar then played one away from his body and Saha took a comfortable catch. Akthar had got his nemesis and Mumbai had lost their captain for a two-ball duck. The Wankhede crowd was silenced for a while. Akthar walked towards third-man after completing his over. The crowd did not approve and sent down expletives, as Akthar could only shrug his shoulders. It was all Jayasuriya after that. He struck two fours off Ishant in the second over. Uthappa also played a cover drive for a four to get off the mark. Akthar’s second over proved very expensive. Jayasuriya two fours and two sixes as 23 runs were scored in total.
Uthappa then flicked a straight delivery from Ishant towards deep mid-wicket for another four. Ishant, though, struck as Uthappa pulled a short delivery towards Ganguly at mid-off. Uthappa was out for nine runs. Agarkar then only gave away five runs in the fifth over. But Mumbai only needed 15 runs from 15 overs. Jayasuriya drove a full delivery from Ishant past mid-off for a four. Ishant though, bowled a front-foot no-ball and Jayasuriya flicked the ball over deep mid-wicket for a six. The free-hit delivery was a short delivery down the leg side. Jayasuriya attempted a pull, but the ball took a deflection of him and went to the fine-leg boundary for a four. That was the end of the match and Jayasuriya remained unbeaten on 48 off 17 deliveries with six fours and three sixes.
Mumbai had defeated Kolkata by eight wickets with 87 deliveries remaining. Pollock got the Man of the Match award.
What happened next
- Mumbai Indians would lose crucial matches in the later part of IPL 2008 and finish only fifth in the Points Table. They would miss out on a semi-final spot.
- Kolkata Knight Riders would finish at sixth place and they too would not make it into the semi-finals.
- Rajasthan Royals would get bowled out for 58 against Royal Challengers Bangalore in the 2009 IPL season. That remains as the lowest total in IPL history. Kolkata’s is still the second lowest.
Kolkata Knight Riders 67 in 15.2 overs (Sourav Ganguly 15, Ajit Agarkar 15; Shaun Pollock 3 for 12, Dominic Thornely 2 for 7, Dwayne Bravo 2 for 13, Rohan Raje 2 for 16) lost to Mumbai Indians 68 for 2 in 5.3 overs (Sanath Jayasuriya 48*) by 8 wickets.
Man of the Match: Shaun Pollock
(Shrikant Shankar is a writer/reporter at CricketCountry.com. Previously he has done audio commentary for various matches involving India, Indian Premier League and Champions League Twenty20 for ESPNSTAR.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Shrikant_23)