HindustanTimes Thu,25 Dec 2014
Narine's four-for helps KKR secure playoff berth
Sanjeev Karan Samyal, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, May 16, 2012
First Published: 20:03 IST(16/5/2012)
Last Updated: 01:02 IST(17/5/2012)

The players appeared jittery, the umpires acted nervously and the administrators were tense. The cloud of the spot-fixing controversy has clearly dampened the mood of the IPL fraternity.

Not many were surprised that the Mumbai Indians versus Kolkata Knight Riders proved to be a poor affair.

Despite the falling TRPs, the fifth IPL had produced some exhilarating cricket but the level of play on Wednesday was a notch or two below the overall standards this season.

In a tournament where we have seen fielders converting even balls sailing over the boundary into catches, twice the ball popped out of the fielders' hands and went over the rope; simple ground fielding attempts were missed and there were glaring umpiring errors.

The happenings of the last two days where five Indian players have been suspended pending inquiry following a TV sting focused on the IPL seemed to have its impact on the players.

Even Sachin Tendulkar dropped a catch on the fine-leg boundary, allowing a slash from Gambhir to go over the rope for six.

On two occasions when Mumbai Indians fielded, disaster was averted after two fielders almost collided going for a catch. First Kieron Pollard swooped in on what should have been Ambati Rayudu's call and then Dinesh Karthik dashed in to pounce on a catch which was in RP Singh's territory.

Umpires Billy Doctrove and Subroto Das had a poor day. Das adjudged KKR opener Brendon McCullum leg-before to a ball pitched outside leg stump. Umpire Das even forgot to signal a free-hit when Yousuf Pathan was caught off a no-ball off RP.

Then it was Doctrove's turn. The KKR fielders exchanged a few sheepish grins when he turned down Shakib Al Hasan's appeal against Tendulkar. As if to even it out, he upheld an LBW appeal against the other MI opener, Herschelle Gibbs.

Among the few positives was the performance of the bowlers. First RP, Munaf Patel and Kieron Pollard combined to restrict KKR to 140 for seven, only for the visitors to pay back in the same coin as L Balaji provided KKR an equally strong start.

Sunil Narine then bamboozled the spin masters of Mumbai - Tendulkar and Rohit Sharma - to power KKR to victory. The win helped KKR go to 19 points and seal their play-offs berth while MI remained on 18 off 15.

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