Mumbai Win A Cliffhanger To Keep Kolkata Out Of Second Place




James Franklin

James Franklin

An Eden Garden with a full capacity crowd is a spectacle in itself and with a second place finish at stake for the Kolkata Knight Riders, one wouldn’t have expected any lesser. There was pressure on both teams with Sachin winning the toss and putting the home team in to bat.

It was a shaky start for the Knight Riders as they lost Shreevats Goswami to confused running between the wickets as he was caught watching the ball while Kallis crossed him. This brought out their captain, Gautam Gambhir, who, after slapping a six off Abu Nechim, was bowled by him to a ball which kept low and crept in between bat and pad. Manoj Tiwari then put on a nice partnership with Kallis and looked to be in fine form before he threw his wicket away, being slow to get back to his crease as Harbhajan hit the wickets directly to send him back to the pavilion. It seemed to work out well for KKR as it brought out Yusuf Pathan, who got off to an explosive start with a six and a couple of fours igniting the crowd, with Kallis soon getting in on the act. Yusuf failed to capitalise though and fell slogging a slower delivery from Franklin to Nechim on the boundary. There was time for some misdemeanour though, as Harbhajan Singh shot his mouth off at Ten Doeschate for advancing down the pitch after having been slapped for a six earlier by Kallis. Kallis continued to prove how invaluable he is by smashing Franklin for two sixes in a row before getting a bad touch to be caught by Suman. There was more entertainment in store as Malinga dropped a skier from Bhatia off his own bowling and then was smacked over midwicket for a wonderful six by Ten Doeschate.  Rajat Bhatia chipped in with a little cameo as KKR finished up on 175 from their allotted 20 overs.

The Mumbai Indians looked up for it as they got 13 off the first over. But this was soon spoilt by Suman who tried to do too much and ended up getting caught at point by Pathan to give Iqbal Abdulla a wicket off his first ball and his 16th wicket of the tournament. Mumbai sent out Harbhajan Singh in a move perhaps designed to accelerate their run rate and he provided a little entertainment by finding the boundary a few times. He was back in the pavilion after his cameo Rajat Bhatia then got an edge off Rohit Sharma and Shreevats Goswami pouched the ball on the second attempt to leave the Mumbai Indians at 85 for 3.It was curious to note, however, that if the ball had struck his helmet, it would have to be deemed not out, but it was unclear if it had. The pressure was building on the Mumbai Indians and Bhatia got his 3rd wicket of the match when Tendulkar was caught by Gautam Gambhir trying to accelerate. It was a crucial wicket, not just because it was the little master, but also because it came at a stretch in the game where KKR had managed to pile on the runs. Even though Franklin and Pollard took a few runs off Abdulla, they were still in a position where they needed a couple of boundaries every over. Kieron Pollard wasn’t of much help as he had his stumps knocked over by an erratic Balaji and departed, leaving Mumbai one big-hitter short. Ambati Rayudu kept them in the hunt with a well struck six. Brett Lee, however, put in an impressive over with his wide Yorkers to leave his team with 21 runs to defend off the last over. Franklin struck 4 boundaries off the first 4 deliveries to silence the crowd as Balaji got it all wrong and luck favoured the New-Zealander. A single of the next delivery left Ambati Rayudu with a boundary needed off the last ball to win it for Mumbai. And he responded in style by smashing it out of the ground for six to leave the Kolkata team contemplating how it went wrong.

It is a result which snatched Kolkata from the second spot they were coveting to dump them into fourth spot. And Kolkata will be out for revenge when these two teams face each other again in the play-offs. Will they get it? Only time will tell.

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