Cometh the hour and the Hitman arrives - Mumbai Indians’ captain 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.
Let us look at five talking points from the first innings between Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders
Rohit Sharma stamps his authority
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.
KKR’s top players have fitness issues
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 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.
Mavi and Cummins’ contrasting performances
While it is unfair to judge a player based on a single performance, Shivam Mavi, bought in Rs 3 crore in 2018 auction by KKR and Pat Cummins, the most expensive player in the 2020 season with a price of Rs 15 crore (49-0 in 3 overs) was a mirror image of the former during the first innings. Pat Cummins was relentlessly attacked by the Mumbai Indians from his very first over when he was hit for a six on the leg side by Rohit Sharma. Whereas Mavi produced a wicket-maiden and finished impressively with the figures of 32-2 in 4 overs.
195 is a par score
With power-hitters like Andre Russell and solid Indian batsmen like Dinesh Karthik in the line-up expect fireworks from the Knight Riders as well. We are probably in for a thriller.