Kolkata Knight Riders fell to their bogey team, Mumbai Indians, yet again and this time they fell apart rather spectacularly in a loss that cost them dear. Mumbai Indians booked a place in the final of IPL for the fourth time in ten editions, thanks to a brilliant bowling display by Jasprit Bumrah and Karn Sharma. The duo shared seven wickets for 23 runs as KKR were bowled out for just 107. The chase was never going to be much of a challenge for MI after that. Despite some early jitters, they cantered to a six-wicket win and set up the title clash against Rising Pune Supergiant on Sunday (May 21) in Hyderabad.
For KKR, it ended a season filled with ups and downs and not for the first time, the fault lay with the batting department.
What went wrong for KKR?Firstly, the toss. KKR is a team that loves chasing targets and when Rohit Sharma called right, KKR were immediately starting on the backfoot. But it only got worse from there once they stepped onto the field. Mumbai’s early momentum was all thanks to Bumrah, who first got the dangerous, big-hitting Chris Lynn caught at long-on in just the second over. KKR’s other hitting gun, Sunil Narine was stumped after missing a Karn Sharma googly but Bumrah came back to strike another big blow. Robin Uthappa, one of KKR’s batting mainstays, was trapped LBW for 1 and Bumrah’s initial burst read 2-1-2-2. KKR slipped to their worst powerplay score of the season – 25 for 3.
Karn Sharma gives no leewayIt could have still become better had a partnership blossomed from that stage but those hopes too were nipped in the bud thanks to the legspinner. Gambhir knew the onus was on him to carry the batting for the innings and he started off with a trademark loft over covers against Karn. However, the bowler had the last laugh when he had the KKR skipper caught at deep midwicket. To ram home the advantage, he trapped Colin de Grandhomme with a googly first ball. At 31 for 5, KKR’s hopes were fading away rather rapidly.
A flicker but no flameSuryakumar Yadav and Ishank Jaggi put on a 56-run stand after that top order disaster but it was never going to be enough. Just when they were threatening to take KKR to a defendable total on a tricky pitch, it was Karn who once again provided a timely breakthrough for MI. Jaggi’s well-timed loft had enough power but not the height as he holed out to long on. Karn Sharma finished with highly impressive figures of 4 for 16. With that partnership broken, MI proceeded to ensure that the tail did not provide any late twists. The last four wickets fell for just 20 more runs and by now, victory seemed just a formality for MI.
Early jitters overcomeKKR, however, did not lose all hope and came out fighting while defending a low total. Piyush Chawla picked up two early wickets and MI slipped to 34 for 3 at one stage.
But for KKR to make a game of it at this stage, they needed to be at their best and have some luck go their way. Krunal Pandya and Rohit Sharma though snuffed out any lingering hopes with a clinical 54-run stand that took MI within 20 runs of victory. Despite Rohit not staying on till the end, MI went on to win rather comfortably and would now bid for a record third IPL title.
Brief Scores: Kolkata Knight Riders 107 all out in 18.5 overs (Suryakumar Yadav 31, Ishank Jaggi 28; Karn Sharma 4/16, Jasprit Bumrah 3/7) lost to Mumbai Indians 111/4 in 14.3 overs (Krunal Pandya 45*, Rohit Sharma 26; Piyush Chawla 2/34) by six wickets.