Three young Indian batters – an IPL rookie, a seasoned domestic cricketer and a promising international – tore into a fancied attack comprising three world-class pacers, a member of India’s T20 World Cup squad and an IPL star to ensure Kolkata Knight Riders converted its bogey game into a facile win on Thursday night.
Thanks to Venkatesh Iyer and Rahul Tripathi’s mesmerising fifties and Shubman Gill’s cameo, the Knight Riders made light work of the 156 target set by Mumbai Indians.
Such was the onslaught by the KKR trio that on a pitch that appeared sluggish, once the ball got softer in the first innings, the Knight Riders won with a whopping 29 balls and seven wickets to spare.
Iyer, who made an impressive debut against Royal Challengers Bangalore, continued to rise to the occasion, making Trent Boult, Jasprit Bumrah and Adam Milne look ordinary. More than his trademark pulls, including a six off Boult in the opening over, it was a backfoot punch in the Powerplay that stood out.
By the time Gill played Bumrah on to the stumps off the last ball of the third over, KKR had raced to 40 for one. And Tripathi and Iyer carried on the power-hitting.
It wasn’t the first time MI had appeared clueless. In fact, it lost the plot in the middle overs while batting. After Eoin Morgan inserted Mumbai Indians in, captain Rohit Sharma, donning the Mumbai Indians jersey for the first time in the second leg, and Quinton de Kock got MI off the blocks quickly.
However, from 56 for no loss in the Powerplay, the KKR bowlers pulled things back admirably to concede just 65 runs for four wickets in the next 11 overs. That ensured even Kieron Pollard couldn’t get MI to a challenging total. Even if he had, such was KKR batters’ fury that no target could have been stiff for them.