KKR's winning streak in Eden Gardens continued on Wednesday © IANS
KKR’s winning streak in Eden Gardens continued on Wednesday © IANS

Gautam Gambhir’s Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) started off the defence of their Indian Premier League (IPL) title with a commanding win by seven wickets, against Mumbai Indians (MI) in their opening match at Eden Gardens. Devarchit Varma brings the highlights from Match 1 of IPL 2015.

Morne Morkel’s burst: The lanky pacer was spot on right from the first ball, troubling the Mumbai Indians’ batsmen. Morkel beat the Mumbai opener Aaron Finch as the ball hurried to the batsman while he looked to play it on the leg side, and got a leading edge. The ball was not short but Finch tried hitting in an awkward position, and the ball flew high in the air and Umesh Yadav at fine leg took a good catch covering a lot of field. Morne continued the good work when he had Ambati Rayudu caught in the first slip by Yusuf Pathan, generating extra pace and beating Mumbai’s No. 4 batsman on the second ball of the innings. For his efforts Morkel was awarded the Man of Match award. Blog: Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) vs Mumbai Indians (MI), IPL 2015

Rohit Sharma misses out on deserving century: The right-handed batsman was in the zone from the beginning of the innings, finding gaps at will and pushing the KKR bowlers on the defence. Rohit smashed 65-ball 98 not out, studded with four sixes and 12 boundaries. Timing and placement were the main highlights in Rohit’s innings, who continued to revel at his favourite Eden Gardens and making most of the good form he generated in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. Despite losing Finch early, Rohit did not get bog down and he smashed three fours in the third over of the innings from Umesh Yadav. Full Scorecard: Kolkata Knight Riders vs Mumbai Indians

Rohit continued to attack his India teammate as in the 15th over, the last four balls were hit for three boundaries and a six over the wide long-on with the batsman clearing his front foot and making most of the opportunity. By the 19th over, Rohit had reached 93 not out and despite hitting a boundary on the fourth ball off Shakib Al Hasan, the Mumbai captain was not able to get to the three-figure mark. Match report: KKR vs MI at Kolkata

Corey Anderson’s half-century and century stand with Rohit Sharma: Corey Anderson walked in to the middle with his side in bit of bother, having lost two wickets in the first six overs. There was however no wicket lost in the remainder of the innings as Anderson and Rohit put up an unbeaten 131-run stand for the third wicket and took Mumbai to a strong position. Anderson did not score at a very high rate, but he made the most of the opportunities whenever there were deliveries that meant to be hit. In the final over there was a race between Rohit and Anderson to get to their respective milestones, and Anderson outplayed his skipper by hitting two sixes in the over to reach 41-ball 55 with the help of four boundaries and three sixes. He was however, dropped on the second ball of the final over from Shakib. Indian Premier League (IPL) 2015: Complete coverage

Kolkata Knight Riders’ strong reply: Despite losing their star batsman Robin Uthappa early on, Kolkata were able to give tremendous scare to the Mumbai Indians in their run-chase. Gautam Gambhir and Manish Pandey teamed up to take their side ahead, and they did that in some style. Pandey set the tone for Kolkata in the fifth over when he smashed a four and a six off Anderson, who had created some early troubled for the KKR batsmen. Gambhir, on the other hand, started off sedately and then picked up when the pressure was taken away by Pandey’s audacious stroke play. Both Gambhir and Pandey continued to pick runs easily and Mumbai failed to stem the flow of singles and doubles. The KKR batsmen added 85 runs from 55 balls, and propelled their side to a position of command.

Gautam Gambhir’s half-century: The skipper fell in the 15th over after scoring 43-ball 57, studded with seven boundaries and a six. Gambhir went about his job with lot of calmness, letting the big hitters around him do all the honours and he dropped the anchor to provide Kolkata the stability they needed from one of their top-order batsmen. Runs came at will for the Kolkata batsman as he found the ones and twos easily; ensuring that the scoreboard kept ticking and the required run rate is addressed. Gambhir had a moment to remember during his innings as a delivery from R Vinay Kumar broke his bat while the batsman tried to drive on the off side. Gambhir fell to Mumbai bowler Jasprit Bumrah.

Suryakumar Yadav’s onslaught: Mumbai Indians seemed to have made a comeback in the match when they removed Pandey and Gambhir in quick succession, but they had no answer to the onslaught from Suryakumar Yadav. The batsman, who hails from Mumbai, started off with a six on the second ball of his inning and ended up with 20-ball 46 not out, a stunning knock which set the crowd on fire at the Eden Gardens. Suryakumar played strokes with lot of ease, and even though many of them looked unorthodox, the short boundaries and the pace of the ball were used to the maximum limit. Suryakumar ensured the ball hit the middle of the bat on all occasions he wanted to go big, and excelled in his endeavour. Thanks to his innings, Kolkata sailed past through Mumbai with nine balls to spare.

(Devarchit Varma is a reporter with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)