Quinton de Kock's third half-century in four matches stole the headlines on Friday evening as the Mumbai Indians picked up a massive 8-wicket win over the Kolkata Knight Riders in the 32nd match of IPL 2020 in Abu Dhabi.
With this win against KKR, Rohit Sharma's men re-occupied the top spot on the IPL 2020 points table and now have six wins from their eight matches in this edition of the competition.
Asked to scale a relatively easy target of 149, the MI batsmen looked extremely fluent right from the onset, leaving the KKR bowlers scratching their heads, without a plan to stem the run-flow.
The Rohit-De Kock duo put on 51 runs off the first six overs, before Prasidh Krishna travelled for 16 runs in the very next over. With De Kock donning the aggressor's role, skipper Rohit took the backseat and was happy to rotate the strike as the South African star pummeled the KKR bowlers all over the park.
Newly appointed KKR skipper Eoin Morgan looked devoid of ideas to gain the upper hand as the MI southpaw raced away to his half-century in just 25 balls, and at the half-way stage, the scorecard read 90/0 with both openers set at the crease.
Needing 59 runs off the last 10 overs, MI skipper Rohit's dismissal in the 11th over and Suryakumar Yadav's wicket two overs later were only a few moments of consolation for KKR.
With MI needing to get the remaining 36 runs with six overs left to bat, Hardik Pandya (11-ball 21*) and De Kock (44-ball 78*) got there in a canter, taking just 17 deliveries to get their side across the line with ease.
Pat Cummins, Eoin Morgan surprise MI
Opting to bat first, KKR lost two wickets within the powerplay stages, with Rahul Tripathi (7) and Nitish Rana (5) sent back by the MI pacers. Dinesh Karthik walked in at No.4 and collected a boundary off a Krunal Pandya over, but back-to-back wickets for Rahul Chahar in the 8th over pegged KKR onto the backfoot.
Jamaican all-rounder Andre Russell walked out to bat earlier than expected, and the KKR superstar seemed to be getting into his groove with a six and a four off the first eight balls he faced.
However, an unplayable bouncer from Jasprit Bumrah sent Russell on his way for a 9-ball 12, and with KKR reeling on 61/5, it seemed as if MI were primed to skittle out the Eoin Morgan-led side for a score under 100.
However, to MI's surprise, KKR's costliest foreign import Pat Cummins, and newly appointed skipper Eoin Morgan, kept the scoreboard ticking with some classy shots.
The Australian took a special liking to his compatriot Nathan Coulter-Nile, smashing two fours and a six off the 13th over as KKR steadily built some momentum on their side.
Even with five overs left, it just seemed like KKR would end up with a score of around 120-130, but the Cummins-Morgan pair had other ideas. The duo collected 35 runs off the last two overs, with Cummins even registering his first-ever half-century in any form of T20 cricket.
From a stage when KKR were staring down the barrel at 61/5 to 148/5 at the end of the 20 overs, the 87-run stand between the pair elevated their side to a challenging total.
IPL 2020: MI v KKR, Who won man of the match yesterday?
Mumbai Indians opener Quinton de Kock continued his stellar form in IPL 2020 with his third half-century in four matches, a 44-ball 78* laced with nine fours and three sixes.
Although the target was just 149 from 20 overs, MI needed to get off to a good start. And, while Rohit Sharma did the early scoring, De Kock outscored his opening partner in quick time and raced away to a 25-ball half-century.
Eventually, none of the KKR bowlers found a way to dismiss De Kock, and for the MI southpaw's efforts with the bat, he was named the Man of the Match in yesterday's IPL match.Published 16 Oct 2020, 23:35 IST