Mumbai Indians 195 for 5 (Rohit 80, Suryakumar 47, Mavi 2-32) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 146 for 9 (Cummins 33, Karthik 30, Pattinson 2-25) by 49 runs
A clinical Mumbai Indians shrugged off their opening game loss in IPL 2020 with a 49-run win over the Kolkata Knight Riders. Put in to bat, Mumbai put on an above par 195 for 5 at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi, built around Rohit Sharma's 54-ball 80 at the top of the order. Sharma batted deep into the innings, falling only in the 18th over, with the sapping heat playing its part in a tired shot, but his effort was enough to give Mumbai's bowlers a total that was fool proof against the Knight Riders' power-packed middle order.
Mumbai's pace trio of Jasprit Bumrah, James Pattinson and Trent Boult then bowled to plans, with Bumrah particularly sensational as the Knight Riders' chase spluttered and faltered without ever kicking into top gear. Bumrah bowled one over in the powerplay, but Sharma saved him for the Knight Riders' big guns thereafter, and he made a second appearance only in the 13th over, when Andre Russell had joined Eoin Morgan in the middle with the asking rate touching 14.75. By the time he had completed his third over, the chase was buried, with Bumrah snaring both Russell and Morgan within four balls and Bumrah's figures reading 3-0-5-2. Rather anti-climatically, Bumrah conceded a whopping 27 runs in his final over to spoil his figures somewhat but, by then, the task was beyond the Knight Riders, who eventually ended up on 146 for 9.
The win also broke a sequence of six consecutive defeats for Mumbai in the UAE, dating back to when they lost five out of five games there in 2014.
The Rohit-Suryakumar partnership
The Knight Riders had begun well, after springing a surprise of sorts in selecting Sandeep Warrier and Shivam Mavi as their two Indian pacers, ahead of Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Prasidh Krishna. Warrier bowled a probing first over, spoiled only by a wide with the resultant extra ball going for six, while Mavi was superb - quick, hostile and coming away with Quinton de Kock's scalp in a wicket-maiden. It would have been easy for Mumbai to go into rebuilding mode, but Suryakumar Yadav was fluent from the start and allowed Mumbai to shrug off de Kock's dismissal.
He hit four boundaries off his first six balls, sumptuously in control of some and not so much of others, but what that did was ensure Mumbai were back to chugging along at a good rate. Suryakumar's initial flurry also meant Sharma could afford to bide his time. The Mumbai captain exploded when Pat Cummins was introduced into the attack, two short balls being dispatched over deep midwicket in regal fashion.
The pick of the shots in a 90-run stand, though, was Suryakumar skipping down the track to Kuldeep Yadav's left-arm wristspin, reading the googly correctly and hitting imperiously with the turn over extra cover.
A tightening of bowling by the Knight Riders and a misjudgement brought an end to the partnership. Sunil Narine and Kuldeep combined to give up just 15 runs in 2.5 overs, and Suryakumar chanced a risky second to be caught short of his crease by a good throw. He had set things up for Mumbai though, outscoring Sharma with 47 off 28 in the partnership, while the captain made 41 off 30.
Mumbai finished well, with cameos from Saurabh Tiwary, Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard ensuring 90 runs came in the last eight overs, despite three wickets falling. Their eventual total was less than what they seemed poised for, but still substantial on a big ground.
Mumbai, and the short ball attack
The defence of the target was going to rest on how Mumbai's pace trio operated. Their planning and execution was spot on, with a majority of the Knight Riders' batsmen susceptible to a short-ball attack. According to ESPNcricinfo's ball-by-ball data, off the 15 overs bowled by the seamers - including three overs by Kieron Pollard - only 16 balls were full, or about one per over.
The plan started with targeting Narine, the opener. He hardly got anything in his half, and while he has smashed short bowling at the top of the order in the past, it was rather more difficult to do against high pace. Predictably, a slog across the line to a short ball resulted in Narine's dismissal. The Knight Riders had decided to send captain Dinesh Karthik in at No. 3 and Nitish Rana after him, which meant Rohit pressed his other bowlers into service, getting overs out of Rahul Chahar, Pollard and Krunal Pandya.
Morgan had come out in the 11th over, but when the fourth wicket fell and Russell walked out, Sharma immediately went back to Bumrah, Pattinson and Boult, and the short-ball tactic was once again on display to both men. Bumrah sealed the deal in the 16th over of the innings. The Knight Riders needed 96 off 30 at the start, and they ended it with the equation reading 94 off 24 and their two best batsmen gone.
Pat Cummins' strange day
Bought for INR 15.5 crore (USD 2.2 million approx), and ending his quarantine just before the game, Cummins had a strange day. He had a forgettable outing with ball, and a memorable one with bat. The Knight Riders had also tried to use the short ball, making the Mumbai batsmen target the longer, square boundaries, but they were nowhere near as effective. Cummins banged them in on a hard length, but Sharma, Tiwary and Hardik Pandya all peppered the square boundary with sixes and fours. He ended up not completing his quota, going for 49 runs in three wicketless overs. However, he got some of his own back when he blasted Bumrah for four sixes in a whirlwind knock that helped shorten the margin of defeat somewhat. His 33 off 12 balls was scored at a marginally faster rate than the runs he gave up while bowling.