Dominant performances from opener Shubman Gill and Andre Russell helped Kolkata Knight Riders halt their six-game losing streak in marvelous fashion against Mumbai Indians as they won their 100th IPL game.
Gill opened the batting – for the second game in a row – and struck two fours and a six in a 14-run first over. With Chris Lynn playing tentatively for his first seven balls, Gill farmed the strike against Krunal and Malinga in the opening overs. When Krunal came back for his second over, Lynn found his range and struck two fours off him, and another off Bumrah in the fifth. By the end of the Powerplay he had struck 23 in a fifty-run stand with Gill.
Lynn struck four fours and two sixes to bring up his half-century in just 27 balls and fall to Rahul Chahar’s legspin in the tenth over, Gill took over and brought up a half-century of his own and team crossed 100 in 11th over.
Russell walked in at No. 3 and Gill gave his partner some breathing space by continuing to find the boundary when needed. A six off Chahar in the 12th took Gill to 58 off 35 deliveries and another one in the 14th helped them gain momentum after a quiet 13th. When Lasith Malinga came to bowl the 16th, he was welcomed by Gill with a drilled four past his left, and two balls later, a flick off his toes for four as he continued to grow in confidence.
When he struck Hardik for a checked-loft, it seemed like the ball would soar over wide long-on for six but it found Evin Lewis running backwards to take a difficult catch. With the score at 158 for 2 and 28 balls to go in the innings, Gill walked back to a standing ovation.
Russell came in around the tenth over and rode a bit of luck before switching dramatically to a near-chanceless knock. When still on 1, Russell had pulled towards deep square leg, but Lewis slow to react couldn’t wrap his fingers around the ball. After that, Russell provided no such opportunities.
He teed off in the 14th over, drilling back-to-back sixes off Chahar to move from six off 12 deliveries to 18 off 14. With eight wickets to go, though, Russell let his instincts take over. Mumbai’s pacers attempted to go either wide, or short and wide, and Russell played effortless ramp-cuts over point to win that battle. With No. 4 Dinesh Karthik also hitting two boundaries in his first four balls, Russell collected three sixes off Hardik’s 18th to move on to 49, and two balls later, ran across for his fourth half-century of the season with 10 deliveries to go in the innings.
He struck a six and a four off Bumrah’s final over to take 15 runs off the over and then dug into Malinga’s 20th over, hitting two sixes and two fours – including a drilled flat six over extra cover to finish on an unbeaten 40-ball 80. The last-ball six took Knight Riders past the previous-highest season score of 231 by Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Mumbai had bad start by losing four wickets inside ten overs but Hardik wasn’t giving up. Walking in at No. 6, Hardik struck six sixes off his first 14 deliveries. He then struck his first four, a cut off Gurney, off his 15th delivery to reach 46, and two balls later reached his fifty with a six over square leg.
From the other end, Pollard found the occasional boundary to keep Mumbai’s score ticking, but it was Hardik who was giving a glimmer of hope to the Mumbai fans. The partnership at a run-rate of more than 13 was ended in the 14th over when Pollard was caught at square leg off Narine.
With six overs to go, Mumbai needed a further 100 runs to win. Hardik and Krunal sliced 20 off Chawla’s 16th over to bring the equation to 73 off four overs, which came down to 59 off three when he took on Narine.
But Hardik fell trying to flat-bat the last ball of the 18th. His crowd pulling innings 34-ball 91. Mumbai added only 13 after his dismissal. Mumbai posted 198 in 20 overs.
Russell was awarded as man of the match for his all-round performance. KKR gonna face Punjab in their next encounter and Mumbai gonna face SRH in their next game.