Sunil Narine (left) just did not let Mumbai Indians get going © IANS (File Photo)
By Nishad Pai Vaidya
Apr 16, 2014
Under the lights at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi, Kolkata Knight Riders trumped the Mumbai Indians by 41 runs to kick-start the Indian Premier League (IPL), 2014. With the sun setting in the backdrop, Jacques Kallis smashed a splendid 72 off 46 balls to power Kolkata to 163 for five in their 20 overs. In reply, Mumbai were tied down and just couldn’t get going during their run-chase. Sunil Narine was in the act again with a crafty spell of four for 20.
Kolkata started off slowly with Gautam Gambhir being bowled for a duck in the second over by a typical Lasith Malinga yorker. That was when Pandey came in and constructed a good partnership with Kallis. It was a stand that was well paced and set a good platform for Kolkata. Initially, they were slow to start with, but as the innings progressed, Kallis took the attack and helped increase the run-rate.
Initially, Pandey was the more attacking of the two. When Corey Anderson was introduced early in the innings, he charged at him to smash a four through mid-wicket and then lofted one down the ground. At the half-way stage, Kolkata were on 63 for one and needed some serious hitting to put up a good total.
It wasn’t the typical Kallis innings. Yes, he did start off slowly as he moved to 34 off 31 balls, but he then cut loose. Malinga made the mistake of dropping a straightforward chance in the 13th over when Kallis was on 34 and thereafter, he smashed 38 off his next 15 deliveries.
Kallis showcased his class courtesy some good cricketing strokes. He swept with authority and charged down the ground quite confidently. Pragyan Ojha was at the receiving end of that class as he was taken for 20 in the 15th over. The experienced campaigner was gradually outperforming the youngster. While Pandey got to his fifty in 42 balls, Kallis got there in 37. He was ultimately dismissed for 72 off 46 by Malinga as Mumbai pulled things back a touch. And some good inventive batting in the last over by Suryakumar Yadav took Kolkata past 160.
Mumbai had a mixed beginning to their run-chase. At one end, Aditya Tare was attacking, but Michael Hussey had a tough time getting used to the surface. Morne Morkel added spice to the contest when he kept Hussey under pressure. The Aussie southpaw flayed outside the off-stump and was comprehensively beaten on a few occasions. That only added the pressure on him as Sunil Narine came in and bowled him comprehensively.
Tare was later dismissed with the score on 40 in the eighth over. Ambati Rayudu was fighting it out along with Rohit Sharma. They were going at a fairly good pace, but the required rate kept rising. In 15 overs, Mumbai had only scored 95, smashing only five fours and a six until then. Mumbai had waited for the assault, but it never came. Even Kieron Pollard and Corey Anderson, the big hitters failed to hit big and struggled to the spinners.
This leaves Mumbai with many questions, particularly about their batting order.
Kolkata Knight Riders 163 for 5 in 20 overs (Jacques Kallis 72, Manish Pandey 64; Lasith Malinga 4 for 23) beat Mumbai Indians 122 for 7 in 20 overs (Ambati Rayudu 48; Sunil Narine 3 for 16) by 41 runs.
Man of the Match: Jacques Kallis.
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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)