Mumbai Indians 153 (Yadav 56, Rohit 43, Russell 5-15) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 142 for 7 (Rana 57, Gill 33, Chahar 4-27) by 10 runs
Rahul Chahar, Krunal Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah pulled a rabbit out of the hat to give Mumbai Indians their first win in IPL 2021. Down and out in their defence of 153, they strung together pressure on a slow surface and then let Knight Riders crack.
Victory had looked a mere formality for the Knight Riders when openers Nitish Rana and Shubman Gill had walloped 72 in 8.5 overs. Where calmness could've done the job, Knight Riders paid the price for ultra-aggression, collapsing from 104 for 2 to 122 for 5 and then seeing Krunal, who finished with 4-0-13-0 and Bumrah string together dots to leave themselves needing 15 off the final over.
Trent Boult then delivered a masterclass, first deceiving Andre Russell with a slower ball and then destroying Pat Cummins' off-stump with a searing yorker to close the game out. Mumbai had extended their dominance over the Knight Riders, winning 10 out of their last 11 games against them.
KKR's spin-centric powerplay
The Knight Riders' first five overs were bowled by spinners. After the returning Quinton de Kock fell in the second over, Suryakumar Yadav offset the early loss quickly. He forced Harbhajan Singh to tweak his line by sweeping him from way outside off, so when he went straighter, Yadav brought out his steely wristwork out to whip him over midwicket. Then, Singh teased him by tossing one up outside off, only to be creamed through extra cover. Yadav had three fours in his first five and Mumbai were on their way, finishing the powerplay on 42 for 1.
Suryakumar keeps the tempo up
One of the hallmarks of Yadav's improved T20 game is his ability to take off from get-go, and then being able to sustain it for a considerable period. The effect was that Mumbai played just two dot balls between overs six and ten. While Sharma played risk-free cricket in a half-century stand, Yadav went for his shots. His fellow debutant from the England series, Prasidh Krishna, bore the brunt as he was picked for two fours and a six in a 16-run first over.
Yadav's ability to play different shots to similar deliveries added to Krishna's challenge. After jumping across to whip a length ball over deep midwicket, Yadav stayed leg side of the ball as Krishna went wider, and then used the width to hit him inside-out over cover for consecutive boundaries. Now, Krishna went short, perhaps expecting Yadav to jump out to pull, only to instead be dabbed past short third man. But the shot of the evening was reserved for Pat Cummins, who was picked over the roof, as Yadav hopped across his stumps to whip one over deep square-leg. It raised a 33-ball fifty. But the Knight Riders then hit back by dismissing him and Ishan Kishan's in the space of four deliveries. Even at that point, 88 for 3 in the 12th over, ESPNcricinfo's predictor pegged the Mumbai Indians to make 174 - factoring in a set Sharma and the firepower of the Pandyas and Kieron Pollard.
Russell - five wickets in 12 balls
The moment the fast bowlers went cross-seam or banged cutters into the deck, the slowness of the pitch became apparent. It told you two things: how well Yadav had batted and that it wasn't going to be easy for a new batsman to come in and get going. Sharma, who hadn't gotten out of second gear, fell after digging in as he chopped on to Cummins. Hardik was out looking to loft Krishna's slower delivery to mid-off, and it turned into a full-blown collapse when Russell's use of the around-the-wicket angle to go full and wide resulted in the dismissals of Pollard and Marco Jansen in the same over.
Russell would take three more in his next over - the last of the innings - to finish with 5 for 15, his IPL best. It was reward for excellent use of angles, and changes in pace and trajectory. The result: Mumbai had gone from 86 for 1 to 152 all out, that's nine wickets for just 66 runs.
Rana, Gill provide blazing start
At times, a middling target can force a batsman to tweak his approach, Rana left nothing to chance. After imperiously square driving the first ball from Boult to the cover-point fence, he advanced down the pitch to deposit a full delivery over extra cover for six. This approach rubbed off on Gill, who then lent a touch of improvisation to take Marco Jansen for three boundaries in the sixth over, all peppering different corners of the leg side.
Chahar cracks open the game
Gill soon became victim to his over-aggression as he holed out to long-off a ball after he had clobbered Chahar for a big six. By then, the Knight Riders had wiped out 72 in 8.5 overs. However, one brought not two, but three. While Rahul Tripathi was out to square turn, opened up completely by one that pitched way outside leg, Morgan dragged one to deep midwicket. Knight Riders needed 49 off 43 then, but there was another twist.
Chahar had a fourth when he had Rana stumped off a slider that he pushed through as the batsman advanced. At that point, Knight Riders were tottering at 122 for 5. It could've become 123 for 6 had Krunal Pandya held on to a return catch off Russell. The tension was palpable. Bumrah had two overs remaining. Would the batsmen try and see him off?
Bumrah, Boult close it out in style
Russell certainly wasn't fancying a big hit, but only until he was helped along by a no-ball. The free-hit was whacked to the fence, the shackles were broken and Knight Riders appeared to have recovered. But Bumrah, coming in with 19 needed off 12, delivered an excellent penultimate over, attacking Russell with the short ball into the body and then besting Karthik with his change in pace to leave them with 15 to get in the final over. It proved difficult against Boult's masterclass.
Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo