Robin Uthappa scored 80 off 52 balls © IANS (File Photo)
Robin Uthappa scored 80 off 52 balls © IANS (File Photo)

 

By Nishad Pai Vaidya

 

May 14, 2014

 

Kolkata Knight Riders beat the Mumbai Indians by six wickets in their Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 game at the Barabati Stadium, Cuttack. On a slow surface, Kolkata restricted Mumbai to 142 and then Robin Uthappa led the way with 80 to help Kolkata sail home. With this victory, Mumbai are almost out of contention for a place in the playoffs. With this victory, Kolkata have stayed at the fourth spot in the IPL 2014 points table.

 

A few days ago, Kolkata had turned up at this venue with the Kings XI Punjab being the home side. However, they were the hosts for this game and going by the experience of their previous game, they decided to bowl first. There was one significant change as Shakib Al Hasan came in for Jacques Kallis.

 

Mumbai struggled to get going for a major part of the innings. There were very few moments when they scored quickly, but Kolkata put up a disciplined bowling performance to keep Mumbai in check. Morne Morkel picked up two wickets, but he did go for 35 balls. The stars were Sunil Narine and Shakib, who have been in splendid touch for them through the season.

 

Narine’s spell of 1 for 18 at the death did not allow Mumbai’s batsmen to get away. Shakib also did his bit with one for 21 as he kept a hold over their batsmen in the middle overs. Rohit Sharma hit 51 off 45 balls, and it was only towards the end that he smashed the ball around. He had started off with 16 off 26 balls and then attacked. However, his efforts were not going to be enough. Kieron Pollard also struggled as he remained unbeaten on 10 off 11 balls at the death. That showed how tough Kolkata had made it for Mumbai.

 

After the bowlers put up a good show and restricted Mumbai to 142, the batting got into the act. Uthappa was in great touch. The moment he worked the second ball of the innings, from Lasith Malinga, through mid-wicket, one knew he was in form.

 

When compared to other batsmen, Uthappa looked at ease on a surface that was slow and it was keeping low a few times. With Gautam Gambhir struggling to come to terms with the wicket, Uthappa was playing through the line and smashing them down the ground with ease.

 

With Uthappa going strong, Kolkata scored 45 in the powerplay. Harbhajan Singh was Mumbai’s best bowled on the day. He dismissed Gambhir and Manish Pandey (in the 15th over), but Uthappa kept it going. He was in control of his shots and accelerated as the innings progressed. He had got to his half century in 34 balls.

 

At the death, Kolkata needed 44 off 30 balls. Uthappa then smashed two sixes off Lendl Simmons down the ground to bring the required rate down, but was bowled by Simmons later in the over for 80 off 52 balls. By then, however, Kolkata were on course. Shakib did fall with Kolkata on the brink, and the victory was ultimately was achieved with eight balls to spare

 

Brief scores:

 

Mumbai Indians 141 for 5 in 20 overs (Rohit Sharma 51; Morne Morkel 2 for 35, Sunil Narine 1 for 18, Shakib Al Hasan 1 for 21) lost to Kolkata Knight Riders 142 for 4 in 18.4 overs (Robin Uthappa 80; Harbhajan Singh 2 for 22) by 6 wickets.

 

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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_45)