Abu Dhabi: Rookie Venkatesh Iyer left many in awe of his talent as Kolkata Knight Riders produced a clinical performance for the second successive game since IPL’s resumption to tame the mighty Mumbai Indians by seven wickets and enter the top-four in the points table on Thursday.
Iyer (53 off 30), playing his second IPL game, displayed the wide range of his strokes alongside Rahul Tripathi (74 not out off 42) to enable KKR to chase MI’s modest total of 155 for six with as many as 29 balls to spare. Quinton de Kock struck an entertaining 55 for MI before KKR bowlers bounced back in the last 10 overs, conceding 75 runs and taking five wickets.
Shubman Gill and Iyer gave KKR another flying start with the first two overs bowled by Trent Boult and Adam Milne going for 15 runs each. Gill flicked Boult for a delightful six while Iyer pulled the New Zealand pace spearhead to set the tone for the rest of the innings.
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While Jasprit Bumrah found Gill’s stumps in the third over, Iyer went on to play a memorable knock comprising four boundaries and three sixes.
Iyer and Tripathi shared an 88-run stand for the second wicket which completely shut the door on MI, who suffered their second loss since IPL’s resumption.
Earlier, MI skipper Rohit Sharma (33 off 30) got off the innings in scintillating fashion, caressing a Nitish Rana delivery on to the mid-off boundary. The skipper, who was in sublime touch in the Tests in England, had not played the opening game against CSK.
Star all-rounder Hardik Pandya did not start once again, raising questions about his fitness.
Rohit took the attack to mystery spinner Varun Charkravarthy with two consecutive fours in opening two deliveries of the fourth over. De Kock was not to be left behind as he matched his skipper stroke for stroke, pulling a Lockie Ferguson delivery over the fence for the first maximum of the match.
Introduced into the attack in the sixth over, Prasidh Krishna was taken to task by de Kock, hitting the medium pacer twice over the fence to pick up 16 runs from his first over as MI cantered to 56 for no loss.
De Kock seemed unstoppable as he welcomed Andre Russell with consecutive fours. Morgan bowled out trump card Chakravarthy by the 11th over (4-0-22-0) with MI not losing a wicket against him. Sunil Narine was also tidy giving away only 20 runs in four overs.
With de Kock going hammer and tongs, Rohit played the second fiddle and scored 33 runs off 30 balls before Narine got his man for the ninth time in T20s, holing out to Shubman Gill at the boundary.
KKR pulled things back between 10-15 overs, conceding only 26 runs and picked up two wickets.
Pollard, as he often does, came up with much needed big hits in the last five overs, including a flat batted six over mid wicket in Krishna’s 18-run over. Ferguson bowled a brilliant last over for KKR, removing the dangerous duo of Pollard and Krunal Pandya (12) at the cost of only six runs.
MI collected 49 runs from the last five overs.