It was all blue at the Eden Gardens as the Kolkata Knight Riders were beaten black and blue by one man in blue jersey – Rohit Sharma. The evening belonged to him as he made merry scoring his maiden century in the IPL at the expense of the Knight Riders’ bowlers. Herschelle Gibbs joined him in the party and the duo put up a 167 run stand to see their team put up a stiff target of 183 runs. In response, the Kolkata outfit lost both their openers in quick succession to make it all the more difficult for themselves. Kallis and Yusuf did some damage-repair but unfortunately, they couldn’t keep up with the required run-rate and ultimately choked in the end.
Hero of the evening
Definitely, Rohit Sharma. He came, he saw and he plundered. He made a mess of the Knights bowling line-up that has been the most economical this season and piled up a century in virtually no time! He left the field unbeaten on 109 that spoke volumes about his skill, temperament and ability to adapt to any format of the game. He played the short stuff with ease and grace and frequently executed the pull-shot. The final result was that KKR was left stunned by this young Mumbaikar who came at a tricky situation but recovered his team and saw them through.
The unexpected star
Herschelle Gibbs was playing his first match of this season and nobody expected anything big from him as he accompanied Sachin Tendulkar to open the batting. But the man from South Africa displayed his class with a solid innings of 66 not out from 58 deliveries. He played in the shadow of Rohit Sharma and called for the big shots as and when needed. Mumbai will surely play him in the next few matches given the form he is in.
Flop of the evening
Kolkata needed their best batsman to step up in such a situation. But Gautam Gambhir returned empty handed as he was castled by Munaf Patel. He was, no doubt, disappointed and his wicket meant the Knights had virtually lost 50% hopes of winning the match. It really proved to be so and this match once again displayed the amount of dependence KKR has on this man.
Contest of the evening
The show was stolen by the Narine-Gibbs rivalry. Initially, Narine had the upper hand as Gibbs found it difficult to play him. He was beaten quite often by some crafty bowling by Narine and the Trinidadian’s first 3 overs went for only 15 runs. But Gibbs finally had the last laugh as he smashed Narine for a four and a six off his last two balls that distorted his figures to a great extent.
It took place in the very first over of the KKR innings. Munaf Patel got off to a fine start as he bowled a beauty to deceive Gambhir in the second ball off the over. Gambhir tried to cut it but the keeper, standing up to the stumps, spilled it because of the deviation. Patel had his man in the next ball as Gambhir misjudged the slower one and he gave himself room only to find his middle stump being uprooted.
The crucial move
Introducing Pragyan Ojha as early as the second over paid dividend for Mumbai as he picked up the wicket of Manvinder Bisla and also proved miserly by giving away only 2 runs in that over. It was a crucial decision by Harbhajan that worked in his favor.
Where they stand now
MI moved up to No.3 while KKR remain static at No.2. MI now have 13 points from 16 matches while the Knights have 17 from as many games.