Gautam Gambhir of Kolkata Knight Riders plays a shot during their IPL 7 match against Rajasthan Royals in Abu Dhabi. (PTI Photo)
It seemed Kolkata Knight Riders’ skipper Gautam Gambhir took into consideration two crucial aspects before he sent in Mumbai Indians to bat at the Barabati Stadium on Wednesday.
The first was the fact that the outfield was bigger here than at most other venues. The second was that the wicket was really slow with very low bounce.
These two gelled well with KKR’s battery of spinners and they killed the match in the first session itself. A target of 142 was very much within KKR’s range and they rounded off their third win on the trot with six wickets in hand and eight balls to spare.
Although Yusuf Pathan was the only KKR spinner who couldn’t quite exploit the conditions, but their trio of Sunil Narine, Shakib Al Hasan and Piyush Chawla choked Mumbai batsmen.
When KKR came into bat, a 50-run opening stand between Gambhir and Robin Uthappa was indication enough that unless they collapsed again the way they did against Rajasthan Royals, anything less than 150 was going to be a cakewalk.
Uthappa went on to score 80 off 52 balls with nine fours and three sixes and when he was dismissed in the 16th over, KKR needed just 26 more to win with seven wickets in hand.
Earlier, Mumbai Indian’s opener CM Gautam perished yet again trying to hit on the rise.
This time it was Morne Morkel who he tried to hit through covers and holed out. The flourish at the top that Mumbai were expecting from Lendl Simmons didn’t happen either unlike in the last two matches and KKR’s spin attack was solely responsible for that.
Mumbai Indians’ run rate remained below six till the 14th over and one expensive one from Chawla that went for 17 remained the only blemish. Leaving that aside the remaining 11 overs bowled by Shakib, Chawla and Narine cost just 54 runs.
Narine’s gave away just 18 runs in his four overs and Shakib went for a miserly 21. By the end of the match Mumbai Indians knew exactly who they lost to. And after their two wins on the trot coming to Cuttack, it’s once again time for some introspection.
An elated Yusuf Pathan attributed the KKR’s success to teamwork.