Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma

Mumbai Indians continue their dominance over their eastern rivals as they beat Kolkata Knight Riders by 49 runs and register a comprehensive win at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

With this win, the defending champions open their account on the points table. KKR chasing 196 runs were never comfortable and kept losing wickets at regular intervals.

Rohit Sharma the winning captain and also Man of the Match, said: "Only two players were from the squad that lost five matches here in 2014. It is all about executing plans, which we did. We were always ahead of the game, but it was al about being ruthless. I am pretty confident playing the pull shot, I love playing that shot, and I am pretty glad that it came off.

“Six months is a long time without cricket. I was looking to get some time in the middle. Didn't come off in the first game, but glad it did today.

“Our pace attack was strong because we planned for Wankhede. Having come here, it did enough for the fast bowlers as well. My job becomes easy if you have such players on the team. It is not easy to play long innings here. Towards the end I just wanted to stay still and hit. Again it is a learning for all of us that once you ate in it is the responsibility of the set batsman to bat as deep as you can."

Meanwhile Dinesh Karthik of KKR, said: "Pretty rusty day to be honest. Don't want to be too analytical about it. The boys know where they need to get better. Pat Cummins and Morgan just finished their quarantine today. So it is not easy to come in and play in this heat."

Earlier, Rohit Sharma made his side’s intentions clear in the very first over when he slammed Sandeep Warrier (34-0 in 3 overs) for a six over point on the off side.

If one thought Quinton de Kock’s dismissal and Shivam Mavi’s wicket maiden in the 2nd over would peg MI back, Suryakumar Yadav produced an array of shots to tame the bowling line up comprising of Pat Cummins, Sunil Narine and Kuldeep Yadav.

The pair stitched together a 90-run partnership in 57 balls to give likes of Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard a platform to launch on in later overs.

However, a comeback of sorts by KKR bowlers ensured that the Mumbai Indians get restricted under 200 in their 20 overs.

Rohit Sharma scored a positive 80 off 54 balls and continued his love affair with the KKR as he surpassed David Warner (829 runs) to become the leading run-scorer against the Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL. He now has 904 runs against the side. He also becomes the fourth batsman in the league’s history to hit more than 200 sixes.

Kolkata Knight Riders’ top Caribbean players were seen for the first-time in the field and judging by what one could see, Sunil Narine and Andre Russell weren’t fully fit. Russell can change the complexion of a match with the bat but his inability to dive for the ball at the boundary made it clear that the Jamaican is having problems with his fitness. To his credit, he saved the boundary with clever footwork.

Sunil Narine on the other hand missed three matches during the tail-end of the Caribbean Premier League as he had his kidney stones removed; however, one doubts if a slight change in bowling action and a slower run-up were the reasons for his post-treatment or just something new in Narine’s armoury of antiques.

Kuldeep’s low confidence

Kuldeep Yadav was once again taken to the cleaners by Mumbai Indians. The chinaman spinner gave away 39 runs in four over without taking a wicket and his body language suggested he was still not over the poor season of 2019. Even for India post IPL 2019, Kuldeep appeared in two T20I matches but at an economy of 11.25 and 9.50. Coach Brendon McCullum however is hopeful that the chinaman will revive his career when given an opportunity. Yadav got just four wickets from nine matches in IPL 2019 at an average of 71.50 and an economy rate of 8.66.

With power-hitters like Andre Russell and solid Indian batsmen like Dinesh Karthik in the line-up, fireworks were expected from the Knight Riders but tight bowling from Mumbai Indians restricted the KKR batsmen to 146/9 in 20 overs.

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