Jacques Kallis looked in good touch and timed his innings perfectly © IANS (File Photo)
By Nishad Pai Vaidya
Apr 16, 2014
In the desert emirate of Abu Dhabi, the Indian Premier League (IPL), 2014 kicked off with the Kolkata Knight Riders posting 163 for five after choosing to bat first against the Mumbai Indians. This occasion was marked with a brilliant innings by Jacques Kallis. Some may say it was a bit out of character as he smashed 72 off 46. Kolkata recovered well after an uncertain start with Manish Pandey contributing with 64.
Gambhir did not look in form as he was trying to get the ball into his bat. In the first over, Zaheer Khan was right on the money and troubled the southpaw with a few good deliveries. In fact, there was a shout for leg-before but it was going down the leg-side. Then Malinga came on in the second and castled Gambhir with that typical toe-crusher.
Manish Pandey came to the middle and initially, he took more strike when compared to Kallis. In the first seven overs, Kallis had faced only seven balls and that does tell you how much Pandey took control. The start wasn’t easy for Kolkata although Pandey attacked Anderson in his first over and smashed him for a six and four. In the first 10 overs, Kolkata had only managed to score 63.
Thereafter, Kolkata tried to get at least a boundary every over. There was a change in Kallis’s approach through. He was more attacking and used his feet to the spinners. Through the innings, he used to sweep shot to good effect with Pandey being his usual self. There was a lot of moving about the crease as usual; some connected, but on other occasions he looked ordinary. But he was effective nonetheless.
Pandey got to his fifty off 42 balls, but Kallis was faster. In the 15th over, Kallis showed his true class when Pragyan Ojha came on. The left-armer was first lofted inside out over cover for four and then smashed for two sixes. The second one was lofted over mid-wicket to bring up Kallis’s half century off 37 balls.
The stage was set for the slog overs and Pandey looked good when he smashed Malinga for a six, before his stumps were rearranged. Kallis continued though as he just kept finding the boundaries, while rotating the strike. His career strike-rate in the IPL has been under 110, but today he paced his innings quite brilliantly. He would actually like to thank Malinga, who dropped a straightforward chance at short fine-leg in the 14th over. At that stage, Kallis was only on 34 off 31. In his next 15 balls, he smashed 38 runs.
Malinga helped Mumbai pulled things back a little by dismissing Kallis and Shakib Al Hasan in the penultimate over. But Suryakumar Yadav’s inventive batting in the last over ensured Kolkata crossed 163. Malinga was the best bowler for Mumbai on the day as he snared four wickets for only 23 runs. By the looks of things, it seems to be a decent score and Mumbai will have to bat well to overhaul this challenge.
Kolkata Knight Riders 163 for 5 in 20 overs (Jacques Kallis 72, Manish Pandey 64; Lasith Malinga 4 for 23) vs Mumbai Indians.
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(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)