He dropped a crucial catch, but then Quinton de Kock more than made up for it with the bat. The opener stroked a magnificent unbeaten 78 (44b, 9×4, 3×6) to lead the Mumbai Indians to their fifth win on the trot, as they trounced the Kolkata Knight Riders by eight wickets at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Friday night.
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MI have now beaten KKR 21 times out of 27, and this win, coming with 19 balls to spare, has to be the most comprehensive of those wins. With their sixth win in eight games, the defending champions are again back on the No. 1 spot in the table.
Putting in a clinical show, Mumbai showed no mercy as they completely outplayed the Knight Riders, who clearly seemed rattled by its top spinner Sunil Narine being reported for chucking, and then a change of the captaincy baton from Dinesh Karthik to Eoin Morgan just a few hours before a key game.
After a superb fightback by Pat Cummins (53 not out, 36b, 5×3, 2×6) and new skipper Eoin Morgan (39, 29b, 2×6, 2×4), who went through baptism by fire on his IPL captaincy debut, rescued the Knight Riders from 61 for five in the 11th over to a respectable 148 for five, MI came out all guns blazing in the chase.
Atoning for having grassed an easy skier off Cummins when he was on 36, de Kock blasted his third half-century in IPL 2020, leaving a hapless KKR attack running for cover. In a telling difference between the teams, while the Knights seemed tentative from the start before Cummins broke the shackles, MI rocketed to a fiery start as de Kock and skipper Rohit Sharma (36, 36b, 5×4, 1×6) added 94 in 63 balls for the first wicket. In the end, Hardik Pandya smashed two fours and a six off Cummins to show what makes MI virtually unbeaten this time.
A pulled six, followed by a classical drive through extra cover off Prasidh stood out amidst the many delightful strokes played by de Kock, who’s enjoying his best IPL season by far this time.
Though he played the best innings of his T20 career, Pat Cummins failed to follow up his heroics with the ball. Rated often as the No. 1 bowler in the world, the ace Aussie fast bowler has failed to lead the attack by example, managing just two wickets in eight games.
Earlier, KKR kept sliding into a deep hole after choosing to bat first. Rahul Tripathi was caught brilliantly by Suryakumar Yadav at backward point off Trent Boult, while Nitish Ranawas caught behind while trying to hook Coulter-Nile.
Rahul Chahar then got into the act, dismissing Shubhman Gill and Karthik off consecutive balls in the eighth over.