Mumbai v Kolkata, IPL 2012, Mumbai May 17, 2012

Knight Riders bowlers silence Mumbai

At the interval, Mumbai Indians were congratulating themselves for restricting Kolkata Knight Riders to a gettable score. When the game concluded, the clapping and high-fiving had changed hands

The sight of Harbhajan Singh clapping and giving high-fives summed up the satisfaction of a job well done. Mumbai Indians had performed admirably to keep Kolkata Knight Riders down to a gettable score, and their batsmen, for the bulk, had the form behind them to complete the task. But they were conquered by a determined bowling attack. In the limited time available during the innings break, some of the Knight Riders bowlers made full use of the practice wickets, tried to shed any rustiness, knowing there'd be little room for error when the chase began.

Such was their excellence with the ball that the hosts' batting was comprehensively outclassed, the memory of two consecutive bowling debacles was overcome and Knight Riders' passage to the playoffs was all but ensured.

Among those bowlers warming up during the break was L Balaji, who was to later admit the Wankhede track was one of the best on offer for seamers this season. The key to his early thrift was his late away movement that confounded Herschelle Gibbs multiple times, drew scattered applause from a sporting Mumbai crowd and contributed to a quiet opening that helped Knight Riders' three specialist spinners - used for the first time together by the team this season - perform without too much pressure.

Pace was Knight Riders' weak link in their previous two defeats but Balaji and Jacques Kallis put up a redeeming display. Their return spells were just as crucial. Brought back to contain an enterprising Dinesh Karthik, Balaji may have been lucky in having him caught at fine leg. Likewise for Kallis, when he had Kieron Pollard caught-behind while hooking, but a slower bouncer was a worthy ploy against a batsman known for ruthlessness against length deliveries. Dwayne Smith's first-ball duck next up put Knight Riders in complete control but a critical feature of Knight Riders' success with the ball was the taming of the Mumbai Indians top order by spin.

Shakib Al Hasan, replacing Marchant de Lange for this match, set the tone, though he and Sunil Narine, while achieving the same aim - stifling the Mumbai Indians batting - went about their work differently. While Shakib doesn't turn the ball much, Narine imparts tremendous spin. Both vary their pace expertly, but Narine's high trajectory, ability to turn it both ways and the batsman's difficulty in deciphering him off the hand gives him that added advantage.

Shakib took on the challenge first, opening the bowling, and was accurate. He didn't give Gibbs any room, instead chased the batsman as he tried to make way to open up. While Gibbs fell playing across the line to Iqbal Abdulla after a frustrating outing, a quicker one from Shakib accounted for the in-form Ambati Rayudu in his second spell. He should have had Sachin Tendulkar, who was deceived by one that went with the arm first ball but Narine continued the mystery against the crowd favourite when he came on.

Tendulkar faced just six balls from Narine, smacking him for four once but was beaten twice, the second time by a ball that turned from outside off towards leg, clipping his thigh and then taking out the off stump as he tried to cut. Tendulkar had settled in well by then, in the 11th over, but the required-rate too had crept up to above eight. The cautious opening - the Powerplay yielded just 26 for the loss of Gibbs - that gave the visitors an early heads-up was to invite criticism from Harbhajan during the presentation. The clapping and high-fiving had changed hands.

Siddhartha Talya is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • shameem on May 19, 2012, 4:57 GMT

    Ganguly thinks Narine's mystery will be over soon as it happened to Ajanta Mendis (Today's the daily aajkal: sports news). Any comment from anyone regarding this? Don't forget some of the people have already started comparing Narine with Sayeed Ajmal ----- don't you guys think it's just too funny to compare with an International player like Ajmal with a club-cricketer like Narine? Awaiting your comments -- (hoping that cricinfo will post mine one ASAP)

  • Suj on May 18, 2012, 18:47 GMT

    Every article it sickens me to see the sad posts lauding the player who was certainly not the best performer in this game. The star of the show for KKR throughout has been Sunil Narine and there are always thousands of comments from these sad Bangladeshi fans singing praises for the much hyped no.1 all rounder! Yeah he batted superbly scored 13 game changing runs at the spell binding strike rate of 108.33. Narine actually scored 9 at a strike rate of 150.00! And don't even talk about the bowling! On which planet is 1/25 better than 4/15 in an unfinished spell? As per the argument of one of the Einsteins below, it can be argued that Narine could have finished with the unbelievable figures of 5/9 if not for a potential catch ending in a six. KKR should not drop Brett Lee, their star pace impact bowler for a spinner when they already have the best spinner in the IPL and easily the best all rounder anyone can wish for in Kallis. Mccullum is also irreplaceable being a wicket-keeper batsman!

  • Dummy4 on May 17, 2012, 19:57 GMT

    @Muhammad Mahbubur Rahman ... u cant come here and quote figures he should have gotten and expect sympathy and expect him to be picked.... a catch was drop of narine which ended up going for six... so i dont see why u want to state what could have or should have happened as part of your reasoning as to why he should be picked

  • Dummy4 on May 17, 2012, 11:39 GMT

    I think either MI team management should thimk seriously or Sachin Tendulkar think seriously to drop himsel. It simillar situation happened like Saurabh Ganguly. Probably, it is a day arrived for these two greats fortaking retirement from T20 format. And for next season, MI think for Ajinkya Rahane (at very big price) in place of Sachin. In this season as well as last season(specially 2nd half of the season) MI opening pair gets problem frequntly. And Sachin has not been upto his standards, which he had achieved in 3rd IPL(2010).

  • Dummy4 on May 17, 2012, 11:26 GMT

    Put shakib after 3 down ..Whatever the situation may be...he will gear up

  • Sukhendu on May 17, 2012, 11:19 GMT

    No Sumanta; Do not ask our "GOD" to step down. let MI help the other teams, as the EDEN supporters did for the 1st three years for KKR, by blindly supporting POK (DADA).

  • Dummy4 on May 17, 2012, 11:01 GMT

    @ Muhammad Mahbubur Rahman cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties.Sometimes we look back on a game and say that a bad call was made or misfield was done and think well it could have been this way or the other.It is all part of the game.Ifs and could haves are part of the post mortem of the game and don't change the result or figures of some one.In the end the result does not change.

  • Dummy4 on May 17, 2012, 10:17 GMT

    Nobody will say this, no reporter has the guts to write this but it is time Tendulkar stops leeching MI for his cut. He should leave T20 before he faces the same situation of Ganguly, he may not considering the media support he has. But most of the matches that MI has taken to last over or lost it, because of slow starting by to two old fox. Had it been some other dynamic youngster or good overseas player the fortune of MI could have been different. The problem of carrying a personality of Tendulkar is; no one can ask him to bat down the order or sit out. He knows that very well and takes full advantage of this position to exploit megabucks. If he had little bit of conscious, he should step down immediately from MI line-up which will help youngster like Rahane to serve MI better.

  • Enamul on May 17, 2012, 10:04 GMT

    Ramansilva@ Not only BD fanz but the whole world rates SHKIBvery high, this is why from last couple of years he is the best allrounders in ODI n TEST by ICC not only that WISDEN recognised him as a game changer, he proved to be KEy player in the COUNTY cricket AND LOTS WAITING FOR YOU ofcourse BD does not give a good experience to INDIAN fanz SO no reason to be happy for INDI fanz.

  • Satish on May 17, 2012, 9:49 GMT

    @tauhid_aks : Honestly speaking, it was a pitch which assisted pace than spin.. And, from pace perspective, KKR didn't have any good one.. Only Balaji and Kallis were the pacers.. KKR really defied the condition and the odds to do it and all the credit goes to them.. I don't think the so called analysts were wrong at that point of time actually..

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