Kolkata Knight Riders beat Mumbai Indians by 34 runs to stay alive in the Indian Premier League. Winning the toss Rohit Sharma opted to bowl first. KKR started off strong and managed to post 232 runs in 20 overs losing only 2 wickets. Three of their batsmen managed to score over 50. MI failed to chase down the target, finishing at 198 runs. Besides Hardik Pandya, there was no one who challenged the KKR bowlers.
KKR changed their opening strategy and instead of Sunil Narine opening with Chris Lynn, we had Shubman Gill taking guard. The strategy seemed to work well as the duo began an incredible onslaught on the MI bowlers. Lynn was the first two reach his fifty but departed shortly after that to Rahul Chahar for 54 runs. Andre Russell came in at number three – a surprising change since he bats lower and it seemed like Robin Uthappa would be in. This strategy clicked as well, with Russell scoring 80* despite a few initial hiccups. While Gill (76) was at the crease, Russell was just getting warmed up. Once Gill departed to a Hardik Pandya delivery, the West Indian took the attack in his own hands. Dinesh Karthik (15*) played a cameo and let Dre do most of the work. Finally, KKR ended with 232 runs – the highest score this year.
Ruthless Russell sizzles again
Mumbai began with a disastrous start, losing Quinton de Kock (0) and Rohit Sharma (12) quickly. Evin Lewis (15) and Suryakumar Yadav (26) too, perished quickly as Russell picked them up. Within a span of nine overs, Mumbai lost four of their batsmen. Kieron Pollard (20) and Hardik Pandya entered the crease. While Pollard looked a bit shaky, Hardik was on top of his game and on top of the opposition. Narine removed Pollard and MI sent in Krunal Pandya (24). Scoring 91 runs in 34 balls, Hardik nearly sealed the match for MI. Unfortunately for MI, Hardik lost his wicket in the 18th over to Harry Gurney. Krunal followed shortly after, losing his wicket to Piyush Chawla, who was earlier severely punished by Hardik.
KKR stay alive at the IPL with this win
The new batsmen Barinder Sran (3*) and Rahul Chahar (1*) didn’t have much time left to help MI. since Hardik and Krunal departed, the match was all but over for MI. The game ended with a thrilling finish as MI reached 198 runs in their 20 overs.
With this win, KKR move to the fifth spot with 10 points in 12 games. MI are at the third spot with 14 points in 12 games. Earlier in the day, Delhi Capitals beat Royal Challengers Bangalore by 16 runs. RCB remain at the bottom of the table with 8 points in 12 matches. RCB’s hopes to qualify are over. DC and Chennai Super Kings are the only teams to have secured a position in the playoffs. KKR is still alive in the tournament but need to win the rest of their matches to make it to the playoffs.